Animal Figures in the Maya Codices

Published: 1910
Language: English
Wordcount: 36,382 / 119 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 62.2
LoC Category: D
Downloads: 901
Added to site: 2006.08.15
mnybks.net#: 14511
Genre: History
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It has been thought desirable, for the advancement of the study of Maya hieroglyphs, that the interpretation of the conventionalized animal figures, which so frequently occur in the Maya codices, should be undertaken. The Peabody Museum Committee on Central American Research therefore requested Dr. A. M. Tozzer to prepare a paper on the subject, and to secure the valuable cooperation of Dr. Glover M. Allen, a zoologist familiar with the animals of Mexico and Central America, to aid in the identification of the various species of animals which under varying forms are used in connection with the glyphs.

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d, an armadillo and a deer both with female figures. These animals probably represent in some way the totems of the man or woman in question and are shown in place of the human figure. The Lacandones, a Maya people, show at the present time the remains of a totemic system (Tozzer, 1907, pp. 40-42). The deer (Ke) gens is found at the present time. In the greater number of cases where copulation is shown a god and a female figure are pictured. The presentation of the new-born children by women with bird head-dresses, also occurring in this same section of both manuscripts, is discussed later (p. 291).

ANIMAL SACRIFICES. Various ceremonials occurring at intervals throughout the Maya year which included sacrifices to the gods, evidently took up a large part of the time of the people. Animals composed by far the major part of the gifts made to the gods. This was especially true in regard to the ceremonies occurring at the beginning of each year. According to the Maya calendar there were four days o

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