Alfred M. (Alfred Marston) Tozzer.

A comparative study of the Mayas and the Lacandones online

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BANCROFT

LIBRARY

<

THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA




A COMPAEATIVE STUDY OF THE MAYAS
AND THE LACANDONES



archaeological Slngtitute of amertca



REPORT OF THE FELLOW IN AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY

1902-1905



A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF
THE MAYAS AND THE LACAMXWES



BY \ C nr 7 -

ALFRED MT TOZZER, PH.D.




NEW YOEK

PUBLISHED FOB THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
OF AMERICA BY

Efte IHacmtllan Compang

64-66 FIFTH AVENUE

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

1907



o



J S. Gushing & Co. Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood. Mass., U.S.A.



no



BANCROFT



PREFACE

THE following report is based upon the field work carried
on principally in Yucatan and Chiapas, Mexico, during the
years 1902, 1903, 1904, and 1905 as Fellow in American Archae-
ology of the Institute. A more detailed account of the exact
time and places where the work was undertaken may be found
in the brief reports that I have given each year to the Com-
mittee of American Archaeology and published in the Supple-
ments to the American Journal of Archceology, Vols. VI, VII,
VIII, and IX.

The report is entirely ethnological in character. The former
Maya culture is touched upon only in relation to that found
at the present time. Where there is any connection between
the two this has been brought out, but no attempt has been
made to' sketch any phase of the ancient culture.

The linguistic part of the report is not included in the
present volume. As it forms a unit in itself, it will be pub-
lished as a separate contribution. It will include a treatment
of the Maya grammar together with a comparative study of
the Maya, Tzeltal, Choi, and Chontal dialects of the Maya
stock.

I desire at this time 1 to express my appreciation and thanks
to the three original members of the Committee on American
Archaeology, Mr. Charles P. Bowditch, Chairman, Professor
F. W. Putnam, and Professor Franz Boas. To Mr. Bowditch,
through whose initiative and aid the Traveling Fellowship in
American Archaeology was founded, and to Professor Putnam,
both of whom have given unsparingly of their time in advice
and counsel both before and during the four years of the
Fellowship, and to Dr. Boas, who has been of great aid in his
advice on the linguistic side of the work, I am deeply grateful.

I owe special thanks to Mr. Edward H. Thompson, American
Consul at Progreso, Yucatan, for the many weeks spent on



vi PREFACE

his delightful plantation at Chichen Itza, and to Mr. and Mrs.
W. M. James of Merida for their many acts of kindness. To
Don Audomaro Molina and Don David Casares and their
families, I am grateful for an insight into the life of the
capital of Yucatan.

My actual field work would have been doubly arduous but
for the kind attentions and hospitality of friends connected
with many of the large mahogany companies in southern
Chiapas. The Compania Mexicana Sud-Oriental of Belgium
through Mr. Luis Pelegrinni, Mr. Robert Herzog, and Mr.
Alfonso Altes ; the American Trading Company of New York
through Mr. Pedro V. Rubio and Mr. D. N. Carrington; the
Compania Romano of San Juan Bautista, Chiapas, through
Don Roman Romano, the Vice President, and Don Domingo
Morgadanes; and the Bulnes Company, also of San Juan,
through Don Enrique and Don Quentin Bulnes, have all placed
many facilities of travel at my disposal.

This is not the time and place to enlarge upon the obliga-
tions I feel myself under to each and every one of the persons
named, in addition to a large number of others. It is always
a regret that the conditions of the country are such "that, in
many cases, one is compelled to accept hospitality and favors
which he can never hope to repay.

A. M. T.

HARVARD UNIVERSITY,
June, 1906.



CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE v

INTRODUCTION ............ 1

Maya and Lacandone . . . . . . . ' . . 1

Maya and Lacandone, linguistically considered . . . . . . 1

Name and derivations .......... 3

Habitat 4

Number 5

HISTORY (summary) 7

Mayas and Yucatan .7

Lacandones and Chiapas . . . 12

HABITAT ............. 14

Position ............. 14

Archseological remains . . . . . . . . . .14

Orography 15

Rivers ............. 16

Soil 17

Geological formation . .17

Rainfall .18

Seasons ............. 18

Climate . . 18

Mineral wealth 19

Flora 19

Fauna . . ' . . . .22

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS . ....... 24

Physical 24

Stature and head form . . . . . . . . .24

Physical strength .24

Color of skin and hair ; texture of hair 25

Health 26

Artificial flattening of head 26

Mental 27

Intellect . . 27

Morality 27

Condition on the haciendas of Yucatan 27

Drunkenness . . . . . . . . . .28

Clothing . . 29

Lacandones . . . -.29

Mayas 31

SOCI\L CHARACTERISTICS .......... 33

External relations .33

vii



Vlll CONTENTS



SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS (cont.}
External relations (con.)

Lacandones ........... 32

Isolation and its causes .34

Mayas . . 36

Permanence of language ........ 36

Interrelations 37

Internal relations 38

Permanent settlements 38

Descent and inheritance 39

Family imperfectly constituted 39

Totemic divisions and their locations .40

Divisions as regards precedence in birth 42

Political life . 43

Honor paid to chief of settlement 44

Family life 44

Leadership 44

Morality . 45

Marriage rite 45

Polygyny .45

Fecundity 46

Naming of children . . 46

Puberty rites 47

Mortuary customs . . . 47

Ideas of future life 47

Sociology of Mayas 49

INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY . . . . . . . . . . .51

Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . .51

Food and the preparation of food 51

Crops 53

Hunting 53

Fishing 54

Navigation . 54

Weaving 55

Cloth making ' 55

Hammocks and carrying nets ........ 56

Baskets 57

Manufacture of bows and arrows . . . . . . .57

Varieties of arrows 59

Flint chipping .......... 60

Arrow release 61

Arrows as ceremonial objects 61

Pottery making 62

Mayas as potters . . . f 62

Lacandones as potters 62

Apiculture 63

Fire making ....... 63

House building ... 63



CONTENTS IX

PAGE

ARTISTIC ACTIVITY ........... 65

Decoration 65

Absent among the Mayas 65

Gourds for food and drink among the Lacandones .... 65

Figure of winged serpent on cliff at Lake Petha .... 69

Sacred incense-burners of the Lacandones ..... 69

Ceremonial gourd rattle ......... 70

Ceremonial robe . . . . . . . . . .70

Sacred hut, or hermita 72

Personal decoration . . .72

Music . . . . . . . . . . 73

Games 76

Dancing . . . .77

RELIGION ............. 79

Lacandones . . . . . 79

Ideas expressed 79

General character . . . . . . . . 80

Gods 80

Number ' . . . . . .80

Character and attitude toward the natives 81

Residence . . . . 81

Pilgrimages . . 81

Finding of incense-burners 81

Connection with ancient culture 81

Use by Lacandones . . . . . . . 84

Survival of older form ....... 85

Changes of form 85

Representation 87

Idols of stone .......... 87

How obtained ......... 88

Their place in the incense-burners ..... 88

Renewal of braseros, or incense-burners ... 89

Functions of the braseros ...... 89

Detailed description of braseros . . . .89

Different types .90

Sacred hut 91

Great secrecy and privacy observed . ... 92

Names of gods 93

Those represented in an encampment 99

Mode of selection 99

Divination by leaf . . . . . . . . 100

Divination by hands 100

Use to determine offering 101

Kinds of offering 102

Possession of set of idols and braseros 103

Priestly duties .104

Ceremonies . 105

Women excluded . . 105



CONTENTS



RELIGION (co?i.)
Lacandones (eon.)
Ceremonies (cont.}

General form 105

Renewal rites for braseros . . . . . . . 105

Time of year 106

Preparation . . . . 106

Braseros, braseritos, and drum 107

Number in an encampment . . . . .' 107

Shelter erected 108

Method of manufacture 108

Akna, the handled incense-burner . . . .110

Ceremonial robe Ill

Interior of ceremonial hut Ill

Stages to every offering made to the braseros . . . .116

Character of chants . . . 117

Daily gift of posol to old braseros . . . . . .117

Copal placed in the incense bowls . . . . .118

Jicaras of posol placed . . . . . . .119

Shell blown at east of sacred hut . . . . .119

Posol administered to braseros, to the east of hut, to those

on the shelf, and to the ceremonial drum . . 119

Shell blown at east of hut 120

Copal lighted in incense-burners 120

Chant with leaves in smoke of incense .... 121
Chant over members of family with leaves . . . 121

Second administration of posol 122

Variations of rite 122

Posol distributed 122

Kite of offering balt&e, buliwa, meat, and fillets to the old

braseros . . . . . . . . 123

Preparation 123

Making baltSe . . . 123

Chant during fermentation 125

Purification .125

Board of nodules of copal 125

Male and female nodules . . . . . 125
Survival of form .... . . . 126

Purification . . 127

Jar filled with baltSe 128

Buliwa placed before the braseros and idols . . . 128
Mixture of cocoa placed . . . . . . .128

Nodules of copal placed ....... 128

BaltSe and cocoa placed in jicaras ..... 128

Jar refilled 129

Second and third set of jicaras of balt&e placed before the

braseros 129

Bark fillets offered 129



CONTENTS xi



RELIGION (cant.)
Lacandones (cont.)
Ceremonies (cow.)

Kenewal rites for braseros (cont.}
Kite of offering baltse, etc. (conL)

Baltic administered to braseros and other points . . 129

Jicaras of baltSe around jar distributed .... 130

Women enter sacred inclosure ...... 130

Second administration of balt&e from jicaras around jar . 130

Shell blown at east of hut 130

Buliwa offered 130

BaltSe before braseros offered 131

Board of nodules offered at east of hut .... 131

Drum beaten 131

Potion of baltse to all present 132

Board of nodules offered inside hut ..... 132

Second potion of balt&e to all present .... 132

Third administration of baltse from jicaras around jar . 132

Nodules distributed in braseros ...... 132

Dishes of meat placed . 133

Jicaras refilled around jar 133

Fourth administration from jicaras around jar . . . 133

Jicaras of baltSe around jar distributed .... 133
New fire kindled . . . . . . . .133

Palm leaves distributed 134

Copal nodules in incense bowls lighted .... 134

Chant with leaves in smoke of incense .... 134

Third potion of baltSe given to all 134

Chant with leaves over family ...... 134

Meat offered 135

BaltS e and meat administered to the braseros and the

other points 135

Fifth administration of balt&e from the jicaras around

the jar 135

Jicaras around jar distributed 135

Period of general drinking ....... 135

Obligatory drunkenness . . . . . .136

Piercing ear with stone point ..... 137

Placing body over fire of copal 137

Buliwa and meat distributed among those present . . 137

Women enter sacred inclosure 138

General feasting begins ....... 138

Necessity of consuming all the balt&e ... . . 138

Fillets distributed 138

Last offering of posol to old braseros .... 138

New braseros and braseritos brought in . . . 138
Condition of old braseros . . . . . . .139

Cleaned and idols extracted 139



xii CONTENTS



RELIGION (con.)
Lacandoues (cow.)
Ceremonies (cont.)

Renewal rites for braseros (con.)

Rite of offering baltie, etc. (co.)

Old braseros placed at one side of hut .... 140

New braseros installed in their place 140

Offering of baltSe 140

Idol placed in bowl of incense-burner .... 140

Board of nodules made 140

Offering of achiote 141

Spots painted 141

Second day in life of new braseros 141

Offering of posol . . . . . . . 142

Third day, offering of baltSe 142

Tamales of corn placed 142

Jar filled with baltSe from hollow log .... 142

Jicaras of balt&e placed before braseros and braseritos . 142

Shell blown at east of hut 142

Baltie administered to sacred ollas ..... 142

Nodules of copal placed and spattered with baltSe . . 142

Baltse distributed in jicaras from those around jar . . 142

Cigars made of first tobacco and offered .... 142

Second administration of baltse ..... 143

Distribution of baltse from jicaras around jar . . . 143

Third administration of baltse 143

Jicaras of posol brought in and offered .... 143

Fourth administration of baltse 143

Nodules of copal offered at east of hut .... 144

Nodules of copal offered inside hut 144

Fillets of bark offered 144

Nodules of copal distributed in braseros and braseritos . 144

New fire made 144

Nodules of copal lighted 144

Different articles painted with achiote .... 144

Chanting with leaves in smoke of incense .... 144

Chanting with leaves over family ..... 144

Offering of frejoles placed ....... 144

Tamales and frejoles offered 144

Necessity of giving first fruits 145

Tamales and frejoles administered ..... 145
Baltse in jicaras before sacred ollas, tamales, and fre-
joles distributed 145

An exchange of offerings 145

Fillets and cigars distributed ...... 145

Fourth day in life of new braseros ...... 145

Offering of posol and balls of ground corn . . . 145

Fifth- day . 145

Offering of posol and cocoa ...... 145



CONTENTS xiii



RELIGION (cont.}
Lacandones (con.)
Ceremonies (cont.}

Renewal rites for braseros (cont. )

Sixth day ..... .... .145

Offering of posol and balls of ground corn . . . 145

Seventh day ..... ..... 145

Offering of posol and cocoa . . .... . 145

New braseros placed on shelf . . ... . 146

Ceremonial hut carefully swept . . . V . . 146

Old braseros placed in nets and carried to cliff . . . 146

Braseritos carried and deposited at Petha . . . . 147

End of rite ..... . . - , .147

Rite on undertaking a journey . . . . - . . . 147

Nodules made ..... ... . . 147

Chant with leaves in smoke of incense . .... . 147

Chant over members of family about to depart . . . 147

Simple offering of copal ..... . . . 148

Pilgrimage to home of a god ....... 148

Journey ........... 148

Celebration of rite ......... 149

Divinatory rite in woods ...... . . 150

Mayas ........... . .151

Many survivals of ancient rites ........ 151

Causes of success of Spanish missionaries . . . . . . 151

Catholic religion in Yucatan . . . ....... 152

Cosinical conceptions ......... 153

Four periods to history of the earth ...... 153

Seven heavens above the earth and their inhabitants . . . 154

Other spirits among the Mayas ....... 156

Ceremonies ........... 159

Offering to Catholic santos ........ 160

Harvest rite ......... . . 160

Baltse offered ......... .160

Nine tortillas made ....... . . 160

Offering to four cardinal points . . . . . . 161

Rite in milpa to spirits of the winds . . . . . . 161

Rite for rain ........... 162

General ceremony for rain ..... . . . 162

Rite on departure for hunting . . . . . 162

Corral rite ........ ... 162

Divination ..... . . . ... .163

By crystal ........ . . 163

By corn . . ...... . . .163

By ring ........... 164

New fire rite ......... . .164

CONCLUSIONS ............ 164

CHANTS . ......... . 169

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . 191



LIST OF PLATES

PLATE

I. Diego de Landa, first Bishop of Yucatan.
II. 1. Usumacinta River above Tenosique.
2. Usumacinta River above Tenosique.

III. 1. Grand Cenote at Chichen Itza.

2. Lacandone woman carrying child on hip.

IV. 1. Group of Lacandones from Petha.

2. Group of Lacandones from the Lacantun River.
V. 1. Lacandone bark dress.

2. Lacandone mother and child.
VI. 1. Lacandone boy and girl.

2. Two Maya women and child.
VII. 1. Maya from Chichen Itza.

2. Two Mayas in working costume.
VIII. 1. Lacandone settlement from the east.

2. Lacandone settlement from the south.

3. Shelter of the Lacandones.
IX. 1. Maya woman grinding corn.

2. Maya woman molding and baking tortillas.
X. 1. Lacandone shooting with native bow and arrows.

2. Lacandone youth shooting fish with bow and arrows.
XI. 1. Lacandone woman spinning.
2. Lacandone woman weaving.
XII. 1. Lacandone loom.

2. Lacandone hammock.

XIII. 1. Front of the ceremonial robe of the Lacandones.

2. Back of the ceremonial robe of the Lacandones.

3. Maya woman modeling a pot.

XIV. 1. Lacandone shell necklace.

2. Olla used in collecting the soot from burning copal.

3. Lacandone native oboe.

XV. 1. Design on ceremonial robe of the Lacandones.

2. Typical Lacandone incense-burner.

XVI. 1. Incense-burner from Labna, Yucatan.

2. Incense- burner from Cozumel, east of Yucatan.

3. Incense-burner from the Hondo River, British Honduras.

4. Incense-burner from the Hondo River, British Honduras.

5. Lacandone incense-burner.

xv



XVI



LIST OF PLATES



PLATE

XVIL 1. Incense-burner from the State of Oaxaca.

2. Head of an incense-burner from the south of Yaxchilan.

3. Head of an incense-burner from the south of Yaxchilan.

4. Incense-burner from the south of Yaxchilan.
6. Incised incense-burner of the Lacandones.

XVIII. 1. Mayas dancing.

2. Lacandone offering two braseritos in a rite.
XIX. 1. Clay animal of the Lacandones.

2. Smallest type of the Lacandone incense-burner.

3. Handle of an incense-burner from the Ulloa River, Honduras.

4. Wooden bark beater.

XX. 1. Interior of ceremonial hut of the Lacandones from the northeast.

2. Ceremonial drum of the Lacandones.

3. Lacandone chanting before old braseros.

XXI. 1. Incense-burner, offering of baltse, leaves, and a cigar.

2. Lacandone chanting with leaves.
XXII. 1. Lacandone youth with his share of offering of posol.

2. Lacandones making baltse.

3. Two logs containing baltse.

XXIII. 1. Board for offering nodules of copal.

2. Nodule of copal found in Yucatan.

3. Nodule of copal found in Yucatan.

XXIV. 1. Leader in rite sitting before jar of baltse.

2. Jar containing baltse.

3. Lacandone offering board of nodules of copal.
XXV. 1. Lacandone with slain monkey.

2. Lacandone making ceremonial fire.
XXVI. 1. Lacandone with spotted poncho and ceremonial fillet.

2. Interior of sacred hut from the northwest.
XXVII. 1. Interior of sacred hut from the south.

2. Lacandones carrying out the "dead" braseros.
XXVIII. Three atlantes from Chichen Itza.
XXIX. 1. Three Mayas offering posol to the spirits of the wind.
2. Maya offering posol.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT

FIG. PAGE

1. Woman weaving, from Codex ... . . . ' . .56

2. Lacandone bow and arrows . . . . . . . . .58

3. Package of flint flakes for arrow points 60

4. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse ... . . .66

5. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse ... . . . . .66

6. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse . _. . . . . . . 66

7. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse . , , . . . . 67

8. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse . 67

9. Incised designs on jicaras for baltge . . . . . . .67

10. Incised design of men on jicaras . .... . . . . 67

11. Incised design of men on jicaras . . . " 67

12. Incised design of men on jicaras . . . . . . . .67

13. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse . . . ... . .68

14. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse ....... 68

15. Incised designs on jicaras for baltse ....... 68

16. Incised figure on cliff, Lake Petha . . . . . . . 68

17. Painted figures on cliff, Lake Petha 69

18. Figure from Codex showing face painting 73

19. Lacandone gourd rattle . . . . . . .75

20. Figure with rattle, from Codex . -. . . . . . . 75

21. String figure of chicken's foot . . 76

22. String figure, " sawing wood " . .76

23. Stick game of the Mayas .77

24. Jade idol of the Lacandones . . ... . . . . .87

25. Idol inside jar, from Codex . . / . . . . . . . 88

26. Lacandone incense-burner, Petha type . 91

27. Offering in bee rite, from Codex 98

28. Molding or carving incense-burner or idol, from Codex . . . 109

29. Baking incense-burner, from Codex . . . . . . . 109

30. Painting idol or incense-burner, from Codex 109

31. Painting idol or incense-burner, from Codex 109

32. Handled incense-burner of the Lacandones 110

33. Plan of interior of sacred hut, or hermita . . . . . .112

34. Figure in Codex offering leaves 121

35. Top of male nodule of copal 125

36. Male nodule of copal, side view 126

37. Female nodule of copal, side view 126

38. Copal offered in bowls, from Codex 126

39. Figure gathering rubber, from Codex 127

40. Jar for baltSe, from Codex 127

xvii



XVlll LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PIG. PAGE

41. Figure offering board of nodules of copal, from Codex . . .131

42. Figure offering board of nodules of copal, from Codex . . .131

43. Blood rite, from Codex . . . . . . . . . .136

44. Figure showing drunkenness, from Codex ...... 137

45. Carrying the incense- burner, from Codex ...... 139

46. Incense-burner or idol covered with copal, from Codex . . .139

47. Figure offering meat to incense-burner or idol, from Codex . . 140

48. Figure offering corn to incense-burner or idol, from Codex . . . 140

49. Smoking rite, from Codex 143



LIST OF CHANTS



NO. PAGE

1. A set of bow and arrows offered to the gods when a boy arrives at the

age of puberty . . . . . . . . . . . 169

2. Eclipse of sun . . .169

3. Divination for name of god whose presence is desired . . . .170

4. Divination for name of offering desired by the gods .... 171

5. Distribution of copal in the braseros during the process of the manu-

facture of the new incense-burners 171

6. An offering of posol placed in jicaras before the line of braseros . .173

7. An offering of posol administered to the braseros .... 173

8. An offering of posol administered to the brasero of Usukun . . 174

9. An offering of posol offered at the east of the sacred hut . . . .174

10. An offering of posol administered to the braseros on the shelf . .174

11. An offering of posol administered to the drum, Qaiyum . . . 174

12. Palm leaves distributed to the participants in the rite . . . .175

13. Palm leaves held over the smoke of the burning incense . . . 175

14. Chant over a young boy with the palm leaves consecrated in the smoke

of the incense 175

15. A jicara of posol distributed to each of the participants . . . 176

16. Individual offering of a particle of the gift of posol . . . . 176

17. Chant given during the fermentation of the ceremonial drink . . 177

18. Purification of the ceremonial drink contained in the hollow log . . 178

19. Purification of the nodules of copal 178

20. An offering of baltse and cacao placed before the braseros . . 179

21. An offering of bark fillets to the gods 179

22. BaltSe administered to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . .180

23. An offering of baltse at the east of the sacred hut . . . .181

24. A jicara of baltse distributed to each of the participants . . . 181

25. Answer of those receiving the gift of baltse 181

26. A jicara of baltle given to each of the members of the family of the

leader of the rite . . . 181

27. Individual offering of a small portion of the gift of baltse . . .181

28. Buliwa offered to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . . .181

29. Baltse offered to the braseros in behalf of the gods .... 182

30. The nodules of copal about to be offered to the gods .... 182

31. The nodules of copal offered at the east of the ceremonial hut . . 182

32. The nodules of copal offered to the braseros inside the ceremonial hut

in behalf of the gods 183

33. The nodules of copal distributed in the braseros . . . . .183

34. An offering of meat placed before the braseros in behalf of the gods . 184

xix



XX LIST OF CHANTS

NO. PACK

35. A potion of the ceremonial drink given to the leader .... 184

36. A gift of meat offered to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . . 184

37. An offering of meat and buliwa administered to the braseros . . 184

38. The offering of meat and buliwa presented at the east of the ceremo-

nial hut 185

39. The offering of meat and buliwa distributed to the participants . . 185

40. Individual offering of a particle of the gift of meat and buliwa . . 185

41. The last offering of posol to the old braseros 186

42. The old braseros cleaned and the idols removed 186

43. The first offering made to the new braseros and the idol placed inside

the bowl 186

44. An offering of posol given to the new braseros in behalf of the gods . 187

45. An offering of baltse administered to each of the braseritos . . 187

46. An offering of baltse given to the ceremonial jar .... 188

47. A gift of tobacco given to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . 188

48. A gift of posol offered to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . . 188

49. A gift of frejoles offered to the braseros in behalf of the gods . . 188

50. A gift of frejoles and tamales administered to the braseros . . . 188


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Online LibraryAlfred M. (Alfred Marston) TozzerA comparative study of the Mayas and the Lacandones → online text (page 1 of 18)