Chimalman or Chimalma is a goddess in Aztec mythology, the mother of Quetzalcoatl. Her name means "shield-hand."

What oral tradition does hold regarding Chimalman is that she was a spirit which accompanied the Azteca from the homeland of Aztlán. Huitzilopochtli and Quetzalcoatl were spiritual entities adopted from the Toltec legacy when the Azteca lived amongst the Chichimeca.

Mother of Quetzalcoatl

According to the Manuscript of 1558, section 7, the begetting of Quetzalcoatl happened in this way: "And then when Mixcoatl went to... Huitznahuac, the woman Chimalman came out to confront him... She stood naked, without skirt or shift." While she stood thus, Mixcoatl shot an arrow "between her legs" -- on two separate occasions. "And when this had occurred, he took the woman of Huitznauac, the one who is Chimalman, and lay with her and so she became pregnant."[1]

Codex Laud (folio 39)

Chimalma, Códice Laud

According to the Codex Chimalpopoca]], referring to Quetzalcoatl, "...and his mother they say was Chimalman. And from what they say about him, Quetzalcoatl was placed in her belly when she swallowed a piece of jade."[2]

The descriptions of Chimalman were unique for the time period. The Feathered Serpent, regardless of the name used by the culture designating or invoking this spirit, with names such as Quetzalcoatl, Kukulkan, and Q'uq'umatz, amongst others, was an aspect of the Absolute Being, which the Mayans called Hunab Ku. Hunab Ku was usually not represented by a figure or image directly, and the Absolute Being was not depicted as a human with a mother.


  1. Miguel León-Portilla & Earl Shorris: In the Language of Kings. Norton & Co., NY, 2001. Page 62.
  2. John Bierhorst: History and Mythology of the Aztecs; the Codex Chimalpopoca. University of Arizona Press, Arizona, 1992, p. 28.
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