Thomas William Francis Gann.

The Maya Indians of southern Yucatan and northern British Honduras online

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jecting tusks are highly characteristic of that god. The lowest and narrowest zone of
this vase is covered with alternating red and black lines.



The cylindrical vase shown in plate 25 is 7i inches in height by 4| inches in diame-
ter. The whole of the decoration upon it is in light and dark red on a light yellow
background, and, like the two previously described vases, it is divided into three
decorative zones. The uppermost zone contains a single row of glyphs, almost in-
decipherable, apparently from constant use of the vase before it was buried. The
middle zone contains two very remarkable mythological creatures, one on each side,
whose feather-covered bodies, long legs, and large feet are suggestive of the ostrich.
The necks are long and covered with flame-like projections, and both they and the
heads, with their huge elongated jaws, are evidently intended for those of feathered
serpents. The lowest zone of the vase is narrow, and contains only a narrow and a
broad red stripe.

70806°— 18— Bull. 64 10


The pottery cylinder shown in plates 26, 27, and 28 is 10 \ inches high by 4 inches
in diameter and is without a bottom. It is most exquisitely decorated in light and
dark red and dark yellow on a light yellow background, and is also divided into three
decorative zones. The uppermost zone contains only a single row of hieroglyphs,
very much defaced, among which may still be recognized several of the Maya day
signs. The middle zone, by far the broadest, is covered by a most intricate design,
containing human and mythological figures and hieroglyphs, with ornamental plumes,
plats, and pendants; the whole, owing to the partial obliteration of the design, being
extremely difficult to make out. On one side is seen a highly conventional representa-
tion of what is undoubtedly intended for the feathered serpent, with tail bent around
to join the upper part of the head. The feathered serpent appears to permeate all
Maya art in this section of the Maya area; whether painted on pottery or stucco, or
incised on bone, pottery, or other material, one encounters him at every step. The
serpent rests upon a row of glyphs, very much defaced, and below this is a mass of
bows, knots, plumes, and glyphs. Farther along is a fierce-faced human figure,
probably a warrior, with lofty and elaborate headdress, ornamented with many 1< >ng
feather plumes. Between the warrior and the serpent is a row of eight cartouches,
superimposed one upon the other, each containing glyphs, a good deal defaced, among
which the "Ahau" sign may still be clearly made out. The opening glyph in this
panel may refer to the katun 8 Ahau. This katun can end in 8 Ahau only once in
260 years, or twice in the ninth cycle, namely, on Ahau, 3 Ceh, and on Ahau, 8 Uo; and it is reasonable to suppose that if this is a calendar record
it refers to some date in the ninth cycle. Naranjo, the nearest ancient Maya city to
Yalloch, was occupied for a period of approximately 12 katuns, or 240 years, 1 between and; if this glyph, therefore, refers to a katun ending in 8 Ahau
in the ninth cycle, the date is certainly indicated.

i Morley, An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs, p. 15.











Brinton, Daniel G. The Maya chronicles. Brinton's Library Aboriginal American

Literature, vol. i. Phila. 1882.
Charnay, Desire.' Voyage au Yucatan et au pays des Lacandons. La Tour du

Monde, vol. xlvii, pp. 1-96; vol. xlviii, pp. 33-48. Paris, 1884.
Cogolludo, Juan Lopez de. Historia de Yucathan. Madrid, 1688.
Gann, Thomas. On exploration of two mounds in British Honduras. Proc. Soc.

Ant. London, 2d ser., vol. xv, pp. 430-434. London, 1894-95.
On the contents of some ancient mounds in Central America. Ibid., 2d ser.,

vol. xvi, pp. 308-317. London, 1896-97.

Mounds in northern. Honduras. Nineteenth Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., pt. 2,

pp. 655-692. Washington, 1900.
Joyce, Thomas A. Mexican archseology. New York, 1914.
Landa, Diego de. Relation des choses de Yucatan. Texte Espagnol et traduction

Francaise. Published by Brasseur de Bourbourg. Paris, 1864.
Maler, Teobert. Researches in the central portion/of the Usumatsintla Valley.

Pt. 2. Mem. Peabody Mus., vol. n, no. 2. Cambridge, 1903.

Explorations in the Department of Peten, Guatemala. Mem. Peabody Mus.,

vol. iv, no. 2. Cambridge, 1908.

Matjdslay, A. P. Explorations in Guatemala. Proc. Royal Geog. Soc, vol. v, no.
4, pp. 185-204. London, 1883.

Morley, Sylvanus Griswold. An introduction to the study of the Maya hiero-
glyphs. Bull. 57, Bur. Amer. Ethn. Washington, 1915.
[Relacion de la villa de Valladolid. Actas Cong. Int. Amer., Madrid, 1881. vol. n.
Madrid, 1884.

Relacion de los pueblos de Popola y Sinsimato y Samiol. Coleccion de documentos
ineditos, relativos al descubrimiento , conquista y colonization de las posesiones Espanolas
en America y Oceania. 2d ser., vol. xm. Madrid, 1900.

Spinden, H. J. A study of Maya art. Mem. Peabody Mus., vol. vi. Cambridge,

Stephens, John L. Incidents of travel in Yucatan. Vols. i-ii. New York, 1843.

Thomas, Cyrus. Day symbols of the Maya year. Sixteenth Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethn.,
pp. 205-264. Washington, 1897.

Tozzer, Alfred M. A preliminary study of the prehistoric ruins of Nakum, Guate-
mala. Mem. Peabody Mus., vol. v, no. 3. Cambridge, 1913.

Comparative study of the Mayas and Lacandones. Pub. Archseol. Inst. Amer.

New York, 1907.

iVillagutierre, Juan de. Historia de la conquista de la provincia de el Itza . . .
a las provincias de Yucatan. [Madrid], 1701.




Agriculture, most important occupation of

Indians 20

Alcohol, effect on Indian temperament 34

Amulets, worn by women 19


Domestic, kept by ancient inhabitants ... 55

kept for pets 25

Arts of the ancients, fine examples dis-
covered 53

Baskets, making of 30

Bleeding, favorite remedy 37

Bones, measurements of 51

Bristol Museum, objects from collection of. 13
British Honduras, Northern, geographical

description of 14

British Museum, objects from collection of. . 13

Candles, method of making 31

Canoe 3—

making of 28

used for trading along rivers 29

Ceremonies, the four principal 42

Ceremony, Cha chac, at ripening of corn,

description 42

Charms worn by women 19

Chief —

power practically absolute 35

rarely dies natural death 35

strongest subchief usually succeeds 35

Childbirth, methods of facilitating 38

Children, love for and disposition of 33

Chronology, three periods of Mayan civili-
zation 58


making of 30

smoked by women 17

Cooking, native methods of 22

Cooking utensils, description of 27


harvesting and storing ol 20

preparation of ground and planting of 20

surplus sold or exchanged 20

Corn husks, wrappers for cigarettes 30

Corn plantation. See Milpa.
"Cuhun ridges"—

description of 14

sites of ancient mounds 14

sites of modern villages 14

Death sentence, how executed 35


description of 21

maize staple article of, among ancient

inhabitants 55

Diseases —

bleeding for 37

eye trouble, remedy for 3S

intestinal parasites 37

malaria 36

smallpox 37

venereal 37

whooping cough, remedy for 38


ancient inhabitants 52

ancient priests 52

ancient warriors 52

Dress— Continued.

now principally English and American

goods 19


curse of the Indians 34

not considered a disgrace 34

Flre, methods of making 22


methods of catching 25

varieties of 25

Fishing —

harpoomng at night 25

methods of 25

torch used in 25

Food —

animals used as, by ancient inhabitants. 55
kind and method of eating modified by
contact with more civilized communi-
ties 22

method of serving and eating 22

preparation and serving of 21

snakes used as 24

turtles' eggs used as 24

Fowls, use of, in Cha chac ceremony 45


description of 27

hammocks conspicuous articles of 27


pursuit of 23

traps used in capturing 24

Game birds and animals—

list of 24

preparation and curing of, for future use. 21


of the ancient inhabitants 56

played by adults and children 39

Hammocks —

conspicuous articles of furniture 27

hiding places for "cooties" 27


ancient warriers and priests 52

animals carved in wood 52

Henequen fiber —

method of cleaning 30

uses of 31

Homes, not particular as to cleanliness of 16

Hookworms, prevalent, due to earth-eating

habits of children 37

Houses —

ancient, description of 53

built with assistance of neighbors 26

method of construction 26

Hunting, torch used in 24

Icaiche, estimate of population 13

Immorality, brought about by cheapness of

rum.. 33

Indians, causes of early deaths 34

Itzas, occupying western British Honduras. 13

Liverpool Museum, objects from collection

of 13


carried by children, causing bowlegs 16

description of its use :.. 15

habits acquired by constant carrying of. . 16




Macapal— Continued. Page

weighted with stones as counterpoise in

traveling 16

Machete, used as tool and weapon 28

Malaria —

chief scourge of Indians 36

treated by sweating 36

Marriage —

age of • 32

all degrees of racial mixture 34

ceremony often delayed 33

Maya women to Negro men common 33

not legal among Santa Cruz unless per-
formed by certain official 33

obli gation somewhat loose 33

usually by Catholic priest 33

Massage, practiced by midwives 38

Maya , progenitors of present inhabitants 15

Medicine, list of plants used as 38


cruelty of, often in nature of reprisal 18

dress of 18

example of cruelty of master to servant. . 18

have no desire to accumulate wealth 18

mental characteristics of 17

occupal ion of 1 i

skillful in finding routes and in following

tracks 18

stoical in bearing pain 18

Metate —

superseded by hand mills 17

use of 21


many fruits and vegetables grown in 20

preparation of 20

Moccasins, making of 19

Mosquitoes, carriers of malaria 36

Mounds —

abundant on fertile soil 50

classification of 49

contents indicate physical appearance

of ancient inhabitants 51

manner of construction 65

Museum of the American Indian, ob-
jects from collection of 13

Odor, peculiar 16

Oils, for cooking and lighting 31

Ornaments, worn by ancient inhabitants... 52

"Pine ridges," description of 14

Plants, list of, used as medicine 38

Pottery —

ancient, description of 54

ancient, ornamentation of 54

slight attempt at decoration 28

Pottery making —

exclusively by older women 28

no polish, glaze, or paint applied 28

rendered unnecessary by iron pots and

earthenware 17

Property', disposition of, at death 33


fine, flogging, and death only methods of. 35

for witchcraft or sorcery 36

imprisonment as, unknown 35


ancient inhabitants 56

Catholic priests not permitted for many

years 41

Christianity a thin veneer 42

four principal ceremonies 42

human sacrifice by the ancient inhabi-
tants 57

Indian conception of 40

native priests appointed 41

Religious altars, draped and decorated. . . 28

made locally 34

women usually drink privately 34

Sandals, worn by ancient inhabitants 52

Santa Cruz tribe—

emigration of 13

estimate of population 13

measurements of 15

physical description of 15

policy of extermination of, by Mexican

Government 13

Smallpox —

terrible scourge 37

treatment for, often disastrous 37

Snakes used as food 24

Spinning —

method of 29

no longer practiced 17

universal among ancient women 55

Spirits, belief in 40

Superstition, "Santa Cruz" oracle 41

Surgery, practice of 37

Teeth, filed and filled with plugs' 51


curing of 30

vanilla leaves mixed with, to give flavor

and fragrance 30

Torch used in fishing 25

Tortillas, preparation and cooking of 21

Traps used in capturing game 24

Turkey', use of, in Cha chac ceremony 45


description of 32

foreigners not permitted to reside in 32

frequent changes of sites 27

locations of, carefully concealed 32


defensive, of ancient inhabitants 53

offensive, of ancient inhabitants 52

Weaving —

method of ■ 29

no longer practiced 17


dress of 19

in gala costume present attractive ap-
pearance 16

industrious workers 17

j ewelry and ornaments worn by 19

obscene and disgusting language used by. 16

occupation of 17

personal cleanliness of 16

physically and mentally superior to men . 16

social characteristics of - 16

Yucatan, geographical description of 14

Yucatecan tribes, immigration into north-
ern British Honduras 13


II 00


i t r.

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Online LibraryThomas William Francis GannThe Maya Indians of southern Yucatan and northern British Honduras → online text (page 15 of 15)