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Chac Masks - Masks of the Rain God

Maya Site of Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico


Chac or Witz Masks on Building Facade, Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chac Masks (or Witz Masks) on Building Facade, Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Dolan Halbrook (c) 2006
One of the Puuc characteristics seen in architecture of Chichén Itzá is the presence of three-dimensional masks of what was traditionally believed to be the Maya god of rain and lightning Chac or God B. This god is one of the earliest identified Maya deities, with traces back to the beginnings of the Maya civilization (ca. 100 BC-AD 100). Variants of the rain god's name include Chac Xib Chac and Yaxha Chac.

The earliest portions of Chichén Itzá were dedicated to Chac. Many of the earliest buildings at Chichen have three-dimensional Witz masks embedded into their veneers. They were made in stone pieces, with a long curly nose. On the edge of this building can be seen three Chac masks; also take a look at the building called the Nunnery Annex, which has Witz masks in it, and the whole facade of the building is constructed to look like a Witz mask.

Mayanist Falken Forshaw reports that "What used to be called Chac masks are now thought to be "witz" or mountain deities that inhabit mountains, especially those at the midpoints of the cosmic square. Thus these masks bestow a quality of "mountain" to the building."
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