Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deciphering the Mayan Language

For many years, I have been fascinated with the art & culture of the ancient Maya people of Mexico.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

On The Daily Grail, I came across this informative history of the decipherment of the Mayan language & glyphs.

Ancient Explorers:

It is a very interesting look at all the brilliant minds & fortuitous events throughout the 20th century that led to the rediscovery of the Mayan language.

During the Spanish Conquest, much of the heritage of the Maya was systematically destroyed by the conquistadors like Cortes and friars like Diego de Landa. The combination of greed and religious fervor, along with a sense of ethnic superiority, led the Europeans to wipe out a culture rich with art and knowledge of nature, mathematics, and astronomy. Of course, the Maya were human and had many brutal aspects to their society, as well. However, the loss of knowledge and life was horrific and inexcusable.

It is amazing that certain geniuses from around the world were able to slowly reconstruct the lost language & ideas of these ancient people, centuries later. Of course, the pattern-detecting abilities of the human brain played a huge part in this, but I also wonder if there is a kind of all-pervasive information field on some level, that our minds can tap into to unlock or access information. Maybe once something is created or thought on a mass scale, it can be pulled back up within a certain time or under certain conditions.

Regardless of how this feat of archaeology has been performed, we are now the benefactors of all the research that has gone into the complex history of the Maya. There is a lot to learn from the limited information we have from them, and there will undoubtedly be more discoveries in the future.

On a related note, this summer at a flea market I came across this exquisite art book that replicates a Mayan codex-style book. It was about the Mayan calendar & their system of numbers. It's called Calendario Maya (1997) and came in a woven pouch. At first, I thought it was just a plaque because of the hard cover, until I opened it and saw the beautifully designed pages inside.


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