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Maya Daykeeping

Maya Daykeeping: Three Calendars from Highland Guatemala

John M. Weeks
Frauke Sachse
Christian M. Prager
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Maya Daykeeping
    Book Description:

    In Maya Daykeeping, three divinatory calendars from highland Guatemala - examples of a Mayan literary tradition that includes the Popul Vuh, Annals of the Cakchiquels, and the Titles of the Lords of Totonicapan - dating to 1685, 1722, and 1855, are transcribed in K'iche or Kaqchikel side-by-side with English translations. Calendars such as these continue to be the basis for prognostication, determining everything from the time for planting and harvest to foreshadowing illness and death. Good, bad, and mixed fates can all be found in these examples of the solar calendar and the 260-day divinatory calendar.   The use of such calendars is mentioned in historical and ethnographic works, but very few examples are known to exist. Each of the three calendars transcribed and translated by John M. Weeks, Frauke Sachse, and Christian M. Prager - and housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - is unique in structure and content. Moreover, except for an unpublished study of the 1722 calendar by Rudolf Schuller and Oliver La Farge (1934), these little-known works appear to have escaped the attention of most scholars. Introductory essays contextualize each document in time and space, and a series of appendixes present previously unpublished calendrical notes assembled in the early twentieth century.   Providing considerable information on the divinatory use of calendars in colonial highland Maya society previously unavailable without a visit to the University of Pennsylvania's archives, Maya Daykeeping is an invaluable primary resource for Maya scholars. Mesoamerican Worlds Series

    eISBN: 978-0-87081-996-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Archaeology, History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. ONE Three K’iche’an Divinatory Calendars
    (pp. 1-17)

    The three divinatory calendars presented in this volume are examples of a K’iche’an¹ literary tradition that includes the Popol Vuh, Annals of the Cakchiquels (Memorial de Solola), and the Titles of the Lords of Totonicapan. Two of the calendars were written in indigenous Kaqchikel or K’iche’ languages, but in European script, sometime before or during the eighteenth century. The third example was written in K’iche’ and Spanish in 1854. They demonstrate that although linguistic and literary traditions were still being adhered to, there was at the same time an obvious element of adaptation and acculturation, the use of European script....

  7. TWO Calendario de los indios de Guatemala, 1685
    (pp. 18-63)

    An important volume comprising transcriptions of two original documents is curated in the collections of the library at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. These manuscripts are identified as “Calendario de los indios de Guatemala 1685. Kaqchikel” and “Calendario de los indios de Guatemala 1722. Kiche.” Both transcriptions were prepared in Guatemala City between 1875 and 1878 by the German philologist Carl Hermann Berendt. Daniel Garrison Brinton, who later acquired Berendt’s manuscript collection, describes the two manuscripts: “Two precious pieces beautifully copied in facsimile by Dr. Berendt from ancient manuscripts he discovered in Guatemala. They present a...

  8. THREE Calendario de los indios de Guatemala, 1722
    (pp. 64-135)

    The second manuscript, “Calendario de los indios de Guatemala 1722. Kiche,” was written in K’iche’ in 1722 and was copied by Karl Hermann Berendt in 1877 from a manuscript in the Museo Nacional de Guatemala. Berendt believed that the calendar came from the Quetzaltenango area and that it was the one given to Cortés y Larraz by the resident priest (Carmack 1973:166).

    The 1722 K’iche’ calendar is the most complex and interesting of the three manuscripts in this volume. It consists of nine parts arranged in three sections indicated by A, B, and C. Individual annual cycles within these three...

  9. FOUR Calendario de Vicente Hernández Spina, 1854
    (pp. 136-161)

    A third calendar was recorded by the resident priest of Santa Catarina Ixtlahuacán, Vicente Hernández Spina. Pedro Cortés y Larraz (1958, 2:150) describes the eighteenth-century village of Santa Catarina Ixtlahuacán:

    The town of Santa Catarina, which they speak about in the parish of San Miguel Totonicapan, is located in a ravine at the base of high mountains. The houses are covered with terra-cotta tiles, there are no streets, and the entire area is surrounded by ravines. They grow many potatoes, wheat, and maize, and have commerce with the coast, the Indians are very rich, but with bad reputations of being...

  10. APPENDIX ONE Notes on Highland Maya Calendars
    (pp. 162-175)
  11. APPENDIX TWO Notes on the Correlation of Maya and Gregorian Calendars
    (pp. 176-184)
  12. APPENDIX THREE Agricultural Cycle and the K’iche’an Calendar
    (pp. 185-193)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 194-210)
    (pp. 211-217)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 218-222)