In cultures across the Mesoamerican subcontinent, there are examples in the archaeological and ethnographic record of myths concerned with twins and sibling pairs (Minneci, 1999). Twins in particular are seen as potent mythic pairs; however, both twins and other pairs of siblings are utilized in iconography and mythology to represent connected opposites. The idea of contrasting duality, where the two halves of each pairing are independent and yet connected to one another, is vital to the Mesoamerican way of thinking. Cultures such as the Maya and the Aztec used spouses and siblings, twins in particular, to embody contrasting counterparts of duality and completion, an idea that structures the worldviews of these two cultures. For the Maya, the most prominent example of mythic siblings would be the Hero Twins in the Popol Vuh. Mythology of the Aztec Empire includes the twins of Quetzalcoatl (meaning “Feathered Serpent” in Nahuatl, a language used by the Aztec People of Central Mexico) and Tezcatlipoca (“Smoking Mirror”), in addition to the siblings of Huitzilopochtli (“Hummingbird on the Left”) and Coyolxauhqui (“Face Painted with Bells”). These mythic examples found in the archaeological record shape the pan-Mesoamerican worldview, centered on contrasting duality and paradoxical pairings.
"Twins in Mesoamerica as a Symbol of Contrasting Duality,"
Spectrum: Vol. 4:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholars.unh.edu/spectrum/vol4/iss1/5