CHAHK, RAIN GOD. Tripod plate with mythological scene. Guatemala or Mexico, 7th-8th century. Click image to enlarge.
The very name Chahk sounds like a crack of thunder in a tropical rainforest. The fearsome Rain God wields an axe to strike clouds to produce life-giving rain and thunder. Because the Mayans basic survival needs relied equally on rain and corn, they shared a reliance on and fervent devotion to both Rain God and Maize God. In this large (16 1/2 in. diameter), tripod feasting plate, Chahk is center-stage, dancing waist-deep in black primordial waters. The creatures slithering from him signify the birth of other deities, including the Maize God. This stunning drawing of detailed kinetic biomorphic designs is elegant, beautiful and psychedelic.