Chin (Mayan god)

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Ithyphallic creature embracing nobleman, Naj Tunich cave

In describing the customs of the Mayas inhabiting the Verapaz province (including the Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz) of 16th-century Guatemala, Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas[1] mentions sexual relationships, regulated by customary law, between unmarried young men and boys, as well as similar relations prevailing among adolescents receiving instruction in the temples. Chin,[pronunciation?] together with Cu[pronunciation?], Cavil[pronunciation?], and Maran[pronunciation?], is mentioned as the name of the male deity said to have demonstrated homosexual intercourse with another 'demon', and thereby to have introduced such relationships: "From that time on some fathers gave their sons a little boy to be used as a woman; and if someone else took the boy, they demanded pay as is done when someone violates another's wife."[2] Institutionalized pederastic prostitution, including transvestism, is reported from the 17th-century Itzá Mayas living in the Petén.[3] Among the Classic Period scenes found in a cave of Naj Tunich is a depiction of a naked, sexually excited male creature embracing a nude Maya nobleman,[4] possibly by way of initiation.


  1. ^ Las Casas 1967: 515, 522
  2. ^ Miles 1957: 763
  3. ^ Jones 1998: 334-335, 499
  4. ^ Houston et al. 2006: 211 and fig. 6.8b; cf. Stone 1995: 196, fig. 8-18


  • Houston, Stephen, David Stuart, and Karl Taube, The Memory of Bones. Body, Being, and Experience among the Classic Maya. Austin: University of Texas Press 2006.
  • Jones, Grant D., The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom. Stanford U.P. 1998.
  • Las Casas, Bartolomé (Edmundo O'Gorman ed.), Apologética Historia Sumaria, Vol. 2. Mexico: UNAM 1967.
  • Miles, S. W., The Sixteenth-Century Pokom Maya. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society 1957.
  • Stone, Andrea J., Images of the Underworld. Austin: University of Texas Press 1995.