Colop (2011: nota 8, página 202) explica el significado del nombre de la abuela, según la traducción del padre Ximénez, "quiere decir 'entierro o fosa'". Por su parte Adrián Recinos (1953: 83) afirma que "estos nombres equivalen a 'los dios mexicanos Cipactonal y Oxmoco, los sabios que según la leyenda tolteca inventaron la astrología judiciaria y compusieron la cuenta de los tiempos, o sea el calendario'. Edmonson (1971: 5) asocia estos nombres a los términos náhuatl yexpoacoc y yexomocane que traduce como 'bisabuelo', 'bisabuela' y agrega que es extraño que al nombrar al orden usual k'iche'; por lo que sugiere revertir el order en una eventual reconstrucción de estos nombres." Cita a Munro Edmonson, The Book of Counsel: The Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala. Middle American Research Institute. Publicación número 35. New Orleans: Tulane University Press, 1971. Cabe señalar la vinculación simbólica entre Ixmukane y el maíz, ya que es la abuela de los dos hermanos quien prepara las importantes "nueve bebidas"/"beleheb cu vcaal" (Ximénez 33r) de maíz molido. Incluimos abajo una representación iconográfica de una vasija precolombina de la colección del Museo Fralin del Arte de la Universidad de Virginia (objeto #1989.31.33) en la cual los mayas tomaban bebidas como atole. Explican Looper y Polyukhovych (2016: 6) que el glifo denota la expresión "yu-k'i-" (yuk'ib), la cual quiere decir "su vasija."
According to Allen Christenson (2007: 54-55fn27), "The name Xmucane may be derived from x- (feminine marker, diminutive) plus muqik (to bury, to cover, plant in the ground), thus giving a possible reading of 'She Who Buries or She Who Plants,' referring to the planting of a seed in the earth or a developing child in the womb. Ximénez wrote that native priests in his day called upon Xmucane and Xpiyacoc for inspiration, particularly concerning the birth of infants and midwifery (Ximénez 1929-31, I.i.6)."
In this sense, iconographic evidence seems to reinforce Ixmukane's symbolic association with the grinding of maiz to make drinks like atole that were consumed in vessels like the one pictured below, from the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia (object #1989.31.33). According to Looper and Polyukhovych (2016, report #45: 6), the glyph can be read as "yu-k'i-" (yuk'ib), or "his drinking vessel."
A topic related to the beverage of ground maiz (probably atole) is cacao, which Ximénez (21v) mentions in the sequence of foodstuffs that Ixmukane prepares: "ixim zaquilic, quinac, pec, cacou"/"el maís, las pepítas de el chíle, los fríxoles, el pataste, el cacao" (maiz, chile seeds, beans, squash, cacao). There are numerous Pre-Columbian depictions of cacao. Here we include one, a faded yet still visible image from a polychrome bowl, also preserved at the Fralin (object #1980.5.8, in Looper and Polyukhovych 2016, report #46: 7). The glyph ka (kakaw) denotes the sacred drink:
Other objects, such as those designed for consuming cacao, represent the concept in different ways. Compare the image above with a red and cream-colored cylinder (object #1979.36.24), glossed by Looper and Polyukhovych 2016, report #48, 5-6) as "ta yu-ta-la" (ta yutal/for fruity/tasty) and "ka-wa" (kakaw/cacao):
As these images suggest, when juxtaposed with scenes from the Popol Wuj, the figure of Ixmukane is deeply linked with some of the most important foodways in Mayan culture, both in terms of daily diets and sacred rituals.
However, Ixmukane's name has multiple meanings, and her symbolic role in the text extends beyond the domain of foodways. As Christenson (2007: 54-55fn27) explains, her name may also "be derived from the verb muqunik (to see, look). Xmucane and Xpiyacoc are referred to as seers several times in the text (see pp. 79- 80; lines 511-517; 522-23). Akkeren suggests that the name should be derived from Yucatec and read as 'Curved/Buried is your Tail.' He associates her with a scorpion deity based on the name of a scorpion textile motif at Rabinal—muqje (tail in highland Maya languages is je, however its lowland Maya equivalent is ne), as well as an entry in the Ritual of the Bacabs referring to a scorpion entity as bul moc a ne (well-curved is your tail) (Arzápalo Marín 1987, 385-386; Akkeren 2000, 262-264). It may be fruitless to seek for a single meaning for such deity names as these. Particularly with regard to names and archaic words used in ceremonial contexts, Quichés derive a host of meanings from them, including puns and other word plays. Thus Barbara Tedlock points out that each named day in the traditional highland Maya calendar has a range of potential meanings, all of which are equally valid depending on context. For example, in interpreting a divinatory outcome, the meaning of the day C'at may be derived from c'atic (to burn), pa c'at (in nets), or c'asaj c'olic (to be in debt) (B. Tedlock 1982, 110). This is one reason I prefer to leave such names untranslated. Xmucane is likely the Quiché version of the grandmother goddess of the Maya lowlands (Goddess O, Chac Chel, Ix Chel). Like God N, the grandmother Goddess O is associated both with the forces of destruction and creation. On folio 74 of the Dresden Codex she is shown pouring out water from an inverted jar, symbolic of the destruction of the world by flood (Lee 1985, 77; Taube 1992, 101; Thompson 1972, 99). A skeletized version of this goddess wearing a crossed-bone skirt is paired with God N on the columns of the Lower Temple of the Jaguars at Chichen Itza. She is paired with God N as well on the upper columns of the Temple of the Warriors, suggesting a close association. Despite her destructive aspect, Goddess O is also considered the great creatrix, the principle deity of creation, divination, medicine, childbirth, midwifery, and weaving (Tozzer 1941, 129, 154; Taube 1992, 101; Akkeren 2000, 241), all aspects characteristic of the grandmother goddess Xmucane."