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Tulúm: Temple of the Diving God


The small Temple of the Diving God at Tulúm is named for a stucco relief of this singular deity in a niche above its western doorway. Diving or Descending God figures, present on several buildings at Tulúm, also appear at Cobá and Sayil. They may represent the Maya bee god Ah Muzencab, known from the Madrid Codex. Their prominence at Tulúm and Cobá suggests the economic importance of honey in the province of Ecab (Henderson 1981). Other researchers identify the Diving God as Xux Ek, the Maya “Wasp Star” equivalent to Venus (A. Miller 1974).

Exterior walls of the temple were painted in a mixture of Mayan and Mixteca-Puebla styles, with images of snakes surrounding sun, rain, and maize. The interior back wall is also covered with mural paintings, including a large feathered rattlesnake head and a richly adorned figure with seashells, possibly Chalchihuitlicue ("Jade Water"), the goddess of the sea and consort of  the Mexican rain god Tlaloc.

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[Fig.1: Temple of the Diving God at Tulúm (photo: Athena Review).]


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