Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

The Shape of Time: Some Political Implications of a Four-Part Figure

  • Clemency Coggins (a1)
Abstract

Four-part figures equal cyclic completion in ancient Mesoamerica, but they do not necessarily correspond to the cardinal directions; they refer, rather, to four-place cycles within the apparent annual path of the sun. The earliest excavated Maya example of such a quadripartite diagram in architectural form is Structure E-VII Sub at Uaxactun, which was part of a solar observatory. Later this E Group at Uaxactun was used for katun celebration. It is suggested that in Early Classic times Mexicans introduced to central Peten a type of celebration of solar cycles observed at Teotihuacan. This new ritual was rapidly Mayanized and institutionalized as the celebration of katuns or 20-year periods. The iconography of katun celebration emphasizes quadripartition and the rainy, stormy sky symbolism of the agricultural year as expressed in Tlaloc ritual at Teotihuacan. Katun celebration probably also served to undermine the original dynastic significance of the ancient Maya Long Count and thus enhanced the public ritual role of the new Mexican elite.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Aveni, Anthony F. 1977 Concepts of positional astronomy employed in ancient Mesoamerican architecture. In Native American Astronomy, edited by Aveni, Anthony F., pp. 319. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Aveni, Anthony F. 1978 Report of activities for the field season of January 1978. Ms. In author's possession.
Aveni, Anthony, and Gibbs, Sharon L. 1976 On the orientation of precolumbian buildings in central Mexico. American Antiquity 41:510517.
Aveni, Anthony, and Hartung, H. 1979 The cross petroglyph: an ancient Mesoamerican astronomical and calendrical symbol. Indiana, in Press.
Aveni, Anthony, Hartung, H., and Buckingham, B. 1978 The pecked cross symbol in ancient Mesoamerica. Science 202:267279.
Brotherston, Gordon 1975 Time and script in ancient Mesoamerica. Indiana 3:830.
Brotherston, Gordon 1976 Mesoamerican description of space II; signs for direction. Ibero-Amerikanisches Archiv N. F. 2(1):3942.
Brotherston, Gordon, and Ades, Dawn 1975 Mesoamerican description of space I: myths, stars and maps, and architecture. Ibero-Amerikanisches Archiv N. F. 1(4):279305.
Caso, Alfonso 1967 Los calendarios prehispanicos. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Investagaciones Historicas, Mexico.
Coggins, Clemency 1975 Painting and drawing styles at Tikal: an historical and iconographic reconstruction. Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Fine Arts, Harvard University. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Coggins, Clemency 1976 Teotihuacan at Tikal in the Early Classic period. Proceedings, 42nd International Congress of Americanists, Paris, in Press.
Coggins, Clemency 1977 Quetza Jcoatl: precious twin. Paper presented at Columbia University Seminars on Pre-Columbianand Primitive Art.
Coggins, Clemency 1979a The manikin scepter: emblem of a foreign elite—or—swords into plowshares. Paper presented at College Art Association meetings, Washington, D. C.
Coggins, Clemency 1979b A new order and the rule of the calendar: some characteristics of the Middle Classic period at Tikal. Maya Archaeology and Ethnohistory, edited by Hammond, N. and Willey, G. R., pp. 3850. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Drucker, R. David 1974 Renovating a reconstruction: the Ciudadela at Teotihuacan, Mexico: construction sequence, layout, and possible uses of the structure. Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Duran, Fray Diego 1971 Book of the gods and rites and the ancient calendar. Fernando, Horcasitas and Doris, Heyden, translatorsand editors. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Gossen, Gary H. 1974 Chamulas in the world of the sun. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Hellmuth, Nicholas M. 1971 Preliminary report on second season of excavations at Yaxha, Guatemala. Ms. available in the Tozzer Library, Harvard University.
Jones, Christopher 1969 The twin pyramid group pattern: a Classic Maya architectural assemblage at Tikal, Guatemala. Ph. D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Kubler, George 1962 The shape of time. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Marcus, Joyce 1976 Emblem and state in the Classic Maya Lowlands. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D. C.
Maudslay, A. P. 1899 -1902 Archaeology: biologia Centrali-Americana. R. H. and Dulau, London.
Millon, Clara 1973 Painting, writing and polity in Teotihuacan, Mexico. American Antiquity 38:294314.
Millon, Rene 1973 The Teotihuacan map. In Urbanization at Teotihuacan, Mexico, Vol. 1, Part 1, edited by Rene, Millon. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Proskouriakoff, Tatiana 1979 History of the Lowland Maya from the inscriptions. Incomplete ms. In the author's possession.
Ricketson, Oliver G., and Ricketson, E. G. 1937 Uaxactun, Guatemala: Group E, 1926-31. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 477.
Ruppert, Karl 1940 A special assemblage of Maya structures. In The Maya and their neighbors, edited by Hay, Clarence L. et al. , pp. 222231. D. Appleton-Century, New York.
Seler, Eduard 1901-1902 Codex Fejervary Mayer. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
Smith, A. L. 1950 Uaxactun, Guatemala: excavations of 1931-37. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 588.
Thompson, J. Eric S. 1934 Skybearers, colors and directions in Maya and Mexican religion. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 436, Contribution 2.
Thompson, J. Eric S. 1952 Aquatic symbols common to various centers of the Classic period in Mesoamerica. In The civilizations of ancient America, selected papers from the 29th International Congress of Americanists, 1967, edited by Sol, Tax, pp. 3136. Cooper Square Publishers, New York.
Thompson, J. Eric S. 1960 Maya hieroglyphic writing: an introduction, [second ed.] University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Tozzer, Alfred M. (translator and editor) 1941 Landa's Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 18.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed