National Geographic has an interesting quiz on the Maya. It’s fairly challenging — anyway, I got two answers wrong.
I posted this over at rightreading, but I’ll repeat it here, since it pertains to Mesoamerica:
When you attempt something ambitious you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way. I’m sure the book I’m working on will have its fair share (recently I realized I had confused the Mughal painters Bichitr and Bishandas). But sometimes a mistake is so stunning that it’s hard to recover from.
I was finding Charles H. Parker’s Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age, 1400-1800 generally interesting and credible. Then I came upon this sentence:
The lack of any indigenous pack animals, except for the llama, and the absence of a wheel meant that humans formed the primary source of portage in Mesoamerican trade.
Probably another reason Mesoamericans depended on humans for portage is that the nearest of their “indigenous” llamas was nearly 2000 miles away in the South American Andes.
This reminds me of a visit to the market in Chichicastenango in Guatemala a few decades ago. The blanket vendors all touted their blankets as pura lana, which means “pure wool.” At the market I met a foolish young Spanish-challenged gringo carrying a blanket he had bought. He’d paid a high price, but it was worth it, he assured me, proudly proclaiming it “pure llama!”
Image from felipe ascencio‘s photostream.
The portion of this painted ceramic drinking vessel that is shown in this image shows a well-turned- jaguarsporting a knotted scarf and a deer antler. He is a wayob’ – the companion spirit of a Maya ruler. Other wayob’ shown on the other sides of this vessel are a toad and a serpent (the young man at right is emerging from the serpent’s jaws). The vessel, from the southern Campeche area, is in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Drinking Vessel, 600-800 CE. Mexico, Southern Campeche. Ceramic with cream, red, and black slip, H: 5 3/8 in., D: 5 1/8 in. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the 2006 Collectors Committee.
This photo from Izamal in the Mexican Yucatan comes from larry&flo’s photostream.
Buried Mirror is taking some time off. Back soon.
This image of the Aztec calendar wheel — also known as the Stone of the Sun — that was excavated in the Zócalo (main square) in Mexico City comes from Drogdon’s photostream. The basalt stone is about twelve feet in diameter. It is now in the collections of the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.
It’s possible that this is a photo of a replica, as it doesn’t look sufficiently aged to be the real stone. (If anyone knows, please leave a comment.)
Christine Delsol identifies ten revolutionary Maya foods.
- Black beans
- Sweet potato
Pretty good list. Read what she has to say here.
image from a Chiapas market from 10b travelling’s photostream
Incidents of virtual travel in Mesoamerica.
- A fine collection of Mexican colonial art : In Davenport, Iowa?
- San Francisco’s putative Mexican Museum gets $250,000 : Will it ever actual open?
- The Mixed Blessings of Mexican Dual Citizenship : Double military obligations anyone?
- The Lost Murals of Miguel Covarrubias : At the San Jose (California) Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival
- Maya altar from classic period to be reconstructed : Few objects from this period have been found in northern Yucatan
This photo of hanging plants at the Hotel Lunata in Playa del Carmen on the Mayan Riviera comes from theilr’s photostream
Incidents of virtual travel in Mesoamerica and the Maya world
- Natural Guatemalan Color Palette : It goes with caldos
- Jade sheds light on Guatemala’s geologic history : I’ts more complicated than had been thought
- Guatemala stops ex-officials from leaving country : But did it do the same for the cocaine?
- Plants of the Ancient Maya : Identification of important plants to the ancient Maya is still in its early stages
- Lo cruel que es el discurso de ricos y pobres : “Si no fuera cruel, sería sólo cínico”
- J.D. Smith’s top 5 mariachi links : Volver volver volver
I hope to return to more regular blogging soon. We might as well start with our regular feature, Photo Wednesday. This image of hammocks against a bright wall comes from CasaDeQueso’s photostream. CasaDeQueso says that the hammocks were for sale at a roadside souvenir shop, near Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
This photo of the Caribbean near the ancient Maya city of Tulum is from mdanys’ photostream.
Incidents of virtual travel in Mesoamerica and the Maya world.
- Ancient Maya practiced forest conservation : Well, duh
- Conditions not ripe for coup in Guatemala : Analysts say
- Horned Guans : “turkey-sized creatures with white sewn-on eyes and ludicrous senses of dignity”
- Coke-bottle virgin draws protest : Shades of Godard’s “Marx and Coca Cola”
- Maya relics found in garbage : All I find is garbage
In an opinion piece in the Global Post, Mark Schneider argues that the Guatemalan state is in danger of collapsing. This is how he begins:
While U.S. attention has rightly been focused on Mexico’s drug wars – with high-profile trips by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before this weekend’s Summit of the Americas – Mexico’s southern neighbor is in far more serious danger of becoming a failed state. Reeling from gangs, corruption and pervasive poverty, Guatemala now faces well-armed, well-financed drug cartels. Click here for more »
A pair of monumental (26-foot) stucco panels have been discovered at the important classic Maya site of El Mirador in the Peten by a team led by Richard Hansen of Idaho State University. The figures in the panels appear to represent the heros twins of the Maya creation myth.
This is clearly an important find. The panels can be dated to the Late Preclassic period, from about 300 BCE to a little after the beginning of the common era.
Video via MSNBC
Yesterday, Sunday Feb. 22, marked the first day of the Maya year 5125, according to the Maya solar calendar, or haab. The haab is also known as the “vague year,” because it did not adjust for the extra quarter day in the solar year. The Maya were, however, perfectly aware of the discrepancy, which they had calculated more precisely than was the case in Europe’s Julian calendar. Because they had several calendar systems it was not important to them that the haab include such an adjustment.
According to Prensa Latina, over the past couple of decades traditional Maya calendrical celebrations, which had been forced underground by centuries of repression, have become less secretive. The photo (by AFP via Straits Times (of all places, shows men playing chajchaay, which is described in the caption as “an ancient Maya ball game,” in Guatemala City. It is questionable whether this game has any connection to those played on the ball courts of the classic Maya. Below is one of several YouTube videos showing the game.
Incidents of travel in virtual Mesoamerica
- Don’t look now, but Mexico is collapsing : As a result of drug wars
- Guatemala President to Visit Cuba: Cubans are working for literacy in Guatemala
- The fine art of preparing true Guatemalan coffee : An acquired taste. That I never acquired
- Bad Language, Naked Ladies, and Other Threats to the Nation: : A Political History of Comic Books in Mexico
- Tikin Xic : A simple fish recipe
- Marine conservation in Mexico : Working for a healthy reef
- Guatemala hosts conference on water governance in Latin America : More efforts toward good water
The number of dead from a landslide near Aquil Grande in Alta Verapaz in Guatemala has risen to 37; that number does not count an equal number of missing persons. A previous slide had hit the same road on December 14, killing two people, and barricades were put up to keep people away from the danger area. Many of the dead in the second slide were coffee plantations workers who simply went around the roadblocks. Click here for more »
This photo of a furniture deliveryman on the streets of Antigua, Guatemala, comes from Michael R. Swigart’s photostream.
Not cards of the ancient or even modern Maya, but playing cards produced by — of all people — the Soviet state. Among the few sets of cards it produced (the state was the sole supplier of playing cards) was this handsome set.
More examples at English Russia.
Virtual travels in Mesoamerica
- A visit to Chiapas : With the NYT Frugal Traveler
- Fiambre : Puro Guatemalteco
- Maya jades to be returned to Mexico : From the Peabody Museum
- Blues And jazz festivals In Mexico : Sweet
- World Bank recommends increased public spending in Guatemala : Just like the U.S., and everywhere
- Portal to Maya hell found in Mexico : It’s okay to visit, but …
I don’t know anything about this. Is it really Maya?
With Day of the Dead around the corner, Rafael Jesús González’s blog is well worth visiting. He traces the celebration from its ancient roots through the colonial period and into the present.
Above: Me (right) and a friend, at the 2006 Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Oakland Museum. Tee shirt image by José Guadalupe Posada, photo by Anne Christensen.
While we’re on the subject of sea turtles, here’s a photo of baby turtles at Monterrico, on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, from guillermogg’s photostream.
By the way, this image is a good example of my technique for correcting color cast. I think it’s fair to say the original was a little blue:
A behind the scenes look at volunteer-driven sea turtle conservation at the La Barrona in Guatemala.
Following up on my previous post about Monterrico, here’s a good video survey of the area.
Guatemala’s Pacific coast has some fine black sand beaches, such as this one at Monterrico. The area is not very developed for tourism, which has its advantages as well as some disadvantages. Get there by going to La Avellana and then taking a half-hour boat ride through the mangroves to the beach.
Shown: detail of a photo from Walter Rodriguez’s photostream.
This image of Maximon comes from cito’s photostream
Wilfredo Lam (1902-19982) was an influential modernist Cuban painter. Among those who acknowledge his influence is the contemporary painter Carlos Luna. While Luna was born in Cuba, his work “deals in part with the duality of Cuban and Mexican heritage,” according to the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach, where a show of the artists’ work is being presented through the end of August. Luna’s work, like Lam’s, is rich in historical and cultural symbolism.
Above: Wifredo Lam, Untitled, ca. 1947, oil on canvas 49 x 59 ¼ in.
Below: Carlos Luna, El Gran Mambo, 2006, oil on canvas, 144 x 192 in.
, along with some recollections of Maximon.
Life has imputantly interfered with Buried Mirror’s posting schedule this summer. In upcoming days I will be backfilling and trying to get back into the flow.