Have this tattoo? You may have made a huge mistake.

[ Kurly Tlapoyawa ]

The symbol allegedly known as the “Hunab Ku” is very popular among the Chicano / Chicana community. In fact, you can find it emblazoned on everything from t-shirts, posters, necklaces, and even brown bodies in the form of tattoos. The symbol is supposed to represent the Mayan concept of “Hunab Ku,” but does it?

My research reveals that the symbol is not even Mayan, but is instead a distorted version of a Mexikah design.  In fact, the concept of “Hunab Ku” is a Catholic invention used to convert the Maya to Christianity. Below is a short video I produced that sheds light on the actual origin and meaning of this symbol. Do you or someone you know have this image as a tattoo? Well, it’s still pretty cool looking, and at least now you will know where it came from!

Interested in learning more? Check out my book “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” available on In it, I discuss basic themes of Nawa philosophy, and how these themes can be practiced in the modern age.

Click to Purchase

Kurly Tlapoyawa is an archaeologist, author, and ethnohistorian. His research focuses primarily on the interaction between Mesoamerica, Western Mexico, and the American Southwest. Kurly has lectured at UNLV, University of Houston, and Yale University on topics related to Mesoamerica. His recent book, “Our Slippery Earth: Nawa Philosophy in the Modern Age” was published in 2017. In addition to his work in Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Kurly is a professional stuntman with over 35 credits to his name.

Follow Kurly on twitter @KurlyTlapoyawa

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About Kurly Tlapoyawa (1010 Articles)

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