mythical cacao or gourd tree sprouts head of Hun Hunahpu, father of the Hero Twins. Polychrome Maya vase also with mythical bird.

This vase was painted sometime in the 7th or 8th centuries A.D., in or near the Chama region of Highland Guatemala. According to the myth of the Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya, the head of Hun Hunahpu sprouted from a calabash tree.

Calabash is a gourd-like fruit about the size of a small human head. The fruit is unusual in that it sprouts directly from the main section of the tree, somewhat like cacao or papaya. Since calabash grows mainly from the upper branches and is round, and as cacao sprouts most noticeably from up and down the entire lower trunk, most captions to this image suggest cacao fruit is pictured on this particular vase.

Of course the book of the Popol Vuh is a 16th century version of a pan-Maya sacred legend. It is possible that cacao was the tree in the Chama area, which is perhaps 100 kilometers from the Quiche homeland of the Popol Vuh. Photographed and used in this nonprofit educational web site courtesy of the Junta Directiva, Museo Popol Vuh,UFM .

Related links

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