Mayan Numerals

CHICHEN ITZA

Mayan Numerals

Mayan Numeral system was created based on simple daily life issues. In contrast to the decimal system that we use today, Mayan numerals are based on a vigesimal numeral system which means that the system was taking number twenty as base rather than ten.

Mayan Numeral system was created based on simple daily life issues. There are three main symbols for making up the numbers: zero which is shown with a shell shape, one which is symbolized with a dot, and five which is a simple horizontal bar. It is believed that the symbols were created by having the inspiration of fresh beans as the fresh beans have maximum 5 beans inside the skin. The skin would be resembled to the bar and each bean as dots.

As an example, if you would want to write 13, you would make two horizontal bars up to each other with a three horizontal dots above the bars.

 NUMBERS AFTER 19

As the numeral system is based on twenty and its powers, numbers after 19 are written vertically from 1s, going up to 20s, 400s, 8000s, 160.000s …

 Mayan names of numbers from 0 to 20:

0 Xix im

1 Hun

2 Caa

3 Ox

4 Can

5 Hoo

6 Uac 

7 Uuc

8 Uaxac

9 Bolon

10 Lahun

11 Buluc

12 Lahca

13 Oxlahun

14 Canlahun

15 Hoolahun

16 Uaclahun

17 Uuclahun

18 Uaxaclahun

19 Bolonlahun

20 Hun kal