lunes, 7 de diciembre de 2009

Cháak the God of Rain



Cháak is one of the most revered of Mayan gods.  In the Yucatán he is the top dog of gods so to speak.  He is  the god of agriculture, fertility, rain and lightning.

He is often represented as a reptilian creature with fangs and a droopy snout, his hair permanently knotted in a tangle of confusion.  With his lightning axe he strikes the clouds and produces thunder and rain.  He sends the rain into the world by weeping from his large benevolent eyes.



Mayan numerals line the sides of the Cháak painting.  The artist has not yet decided this painting is complete, but he is getting there. 

16" x 20"
acrylic on canvas
work in progress

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I would like to clarify some confusion about Cháac while probably causing more.  First you must remember that Mayan was a spoken, not written, language.  Therefore, you will often see different spellings for the same name.  Sometimes you'll also see additional names identifying that same deity.  There are at least 65 separate Mayan languages.  The Mayan language was also influenced by the Aztecs and Toltecs and yes, it does get quite confusing.


Mayan words have very subtle differences in pronounciation.  Though I may have gone over this in a past blog, it never ceases to amaze me.  This word CHAC.  One Francisco's previous paintings was of CHAC MOOL.  It was the sculpture of a figure seated, knees up, seemingly making an offering.  Those sculptures were named in 1875 by Augustus Le Plongeon who excavated one of the statues in Chichén Itzá.  He named it that because 'chaac mol', as he wrote it then, he had translated from the Mayan to mean "thundering paw".

In my research of the rain god Cháak, I noticed that sometimes he is also referred to as Chac-Mol, so for those who have questioned this topic, I guess we are all right.  Chac mool is also a type of jaguar. When combined with another word the chac takes on another meaning.  Here's a rundown on the various Chacs just for fun.

Chak........rojo... red             or     jaguar
Chaak......salcochar...or the equivalent of blanching, as in slightly boiling vegetables
Ch'aak.....cortar....to cut
chaak'.....guiñar...to wink (an eye)
cháak.....lluvia.........same cháak as the rain god
cha'ak....sagu...some kind of edible plant

All these words are pronounced differently.  There will not be a quiz on this tidbit of information.

2 comentarios:

  1. That is a great painting. This is my first time on this site and I am very impressed. Mayan art is a part of Mexican culture that should be preserved. PS: I'm glad there won't be a quiz on this or I would have failed miserably.

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  2. Thanks, I am glad you like his work. Even I would fail a quiz on the Mayan language...it is tricky.

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