Sunday, March 28, 2010

Notes on Lost Civilization: Maya

  • Time-Life - access to archival footage - redeems production style of documentary
  • Tikal
  • Palenque
  • The Temple of Inscriptions - Alberto Ruz Lhuillier
  • Ruined skeleton and precious jade mask - Pacal
  • Eric Thompson - People Who Worshiped Time
  • El Castillo at Chitzen Itza
From Wikipedia: Chitzen Itza:

Dominating the center of Chichén is the Temple of Kukulkan (the Maya name for Quetzalcoatl), often referred to as "El Castillo" (the castle). This step pyramid has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Autumn equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent - Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl - along the west side of the north staircase. On these two annual occasions, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun's movement to the serpent's head at the base.

Mesoamerican cultures periodically built larger pyramids atop older ones, and this is one such example. In the mid 1930s, the Mexican government sponsored an excavation of El Castillo. After several false starts, they discovered a staircase under the north side of the pyramid. By digging from the top, they found another temple buried below the current one. Inside the temple chamber was a Chac Mool statue and a throne in the shape of Jaguar, painted red and with spots made of inlaid jade.

Composite Laser scan image of Chichen Itza's Cave of Balankanche, showing how the shape of its great limestone column is strongly evocative of the World Tree in Maya mythological belief systems.

Demise of Hun Hunahpú and Vucub Hunahpú and origin of hero twins Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. They are summoned to the underworld of Xibalbá for playing their ball game too noisily. They are killed; Hun Hunahpú's head is placed in a calabash tree. This skull later impregnates Xquic, daughter of a Xibalbé lord, by spitting into her hand. She flees the lords and lives with Xmucané where she gives birth to "Hero Twins" Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. Mistreated by their half-brothers Hunbatz and Huchouén, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué trick them into climbing a tree. Hunbatz and Huchouén transform into monkeys.

A tableau from the Western Mexico shaft tomb tradition, showing a multi-layered tree with birds. It has been proposed that the birds represent souls who have not yet descended into the underworld,[1] while the central tree may represent the Mesoamerican world tree.[2] 

World trees are a prevalent motif occurring in the mythical cosmologies, creation accounts, and iconographies of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica. World trees embodied the four cardinal directions, which also serve to represent the four-fold nature of a central world tree, a symbolic axis mundi which connects the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial realm.[3]

Depictions of world trees, both in their directional and central aspects, are found in the art and mythological traditions of cultures such as the Maya, Aztec, Izapan, Mixtec, Olmec, and others, dating to at least the Mid/Late Formative periods of Mesoamerican chronology. Among the Maya, the central world tree was conceived as or represented by a ceiba tree, and is known variously as a wacah chan or yax imix che, depending on the Mayan language.[4] The trunk of the tree could also be represented by an upright caiman, whose skin evokes the tree's spiny trunk.[5]

Directional world trees are also associated with the four Yearbearers in Mesoamerican calendars, and the directional colors and deities. Mesoamerican codices which have this association outlined include the Dresden, Borgia and Fejérváry-Mayer codices.[6] It is supposed that Mesoamerican sites and ceremonial centers frequently had actual trees planted at each of the four cardinal directions, representing the quadripartite concept.[citation needed]

Izapa Stela 5 is considered a possible representation of a World Tree.

World trees are frequently depicted with birds in their branches, and their roots extending into earth or water (sometimes atop a "water-monster", symbolic of the underworld).

The central world tree has also been interpreted as a representation of the band of the Milky Way.[7]

 An 1847 depiction of the Norse Yggdrasil as described in the Icelandic Prose Edda by Oluf Olufsen Bagge. [source]

  • Mayan Calendar
  • Gears within gears
  • 23 December 2012

  • God of Decapitation:
  • Giles Healey
  • Discovery of Bonampak

    •  Skeleton With the Jade Mask
    • Lord Pacal
    • Source of Authority
    • Trail of Blood
    • Rope of Thorns
    • Stingray Spine / Knife
    • Blood of Kings
    • Blood is the price of power
    • Debt to the Gods
    • Soul resides in the blood
    • No surrogate sacrifice
    • skull racks
    • ball game
    • sacramental blood still feed the mayan imagination
    • Christianity made perfect sense - Blood shed by king/christ insures stability of world
    • asdfasd

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