Skip

Everything you wanted to know about pre-Columbian Central America but were afraid to ask lest your heart get ripped out and offered to Quetzalcoatl
November 29, 2008 12:49 PM   Subscribe

The Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies is your one-stop shop for pre-Columbian Central America awesomeness. There are so, so many wondrous things on that site, I don't quite know where to begin. I suppose John Pohl's scholarly introduction is a natural place to start. But maybe you just don't have time to read anything and just want to dive into pretty, pretty pictures. Perhaps the most user-friendly databases are Justin Kerr's photographs Maya Vases (e.g. 1, 2, 3) and Pre-Columbian Portfolio (e.g. 1, 2a, 2b, 3). From there you can delve into the collection of Linda Schele's photographs (e.g. 1, 2) and drawings (e.g. 1, 2, 3). There are more image databases but let me direct you to the collection of old Maya, Aztec and Mixtec books which are simply stunning (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4 [last link pdf]). You can read more about Mayan and Mixtec codices and download high resolution versions of the entire books. There are also Maya dictionaries, glyph guides, linguistic maps and a who's who. There is also classic Mayan and Aztec poetry in translation. I'm telling you, that's not even half of what this amazing site has to offer.
posted by Kattullus (19 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
I can't recommend Le Clézio's Mexican Dream, Or, The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations highly enough. It's a compulsively readable account of the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican world-view. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, besides being a Nobel Laureate in literature, is a doctor of Mesoamerican studies and wrote his ph.d. thesis on Mexico's early history.
posted by Kattullus at 12:54 PM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


awesome, indeed - thanks much for this
posted by jammy at 1:19 PM on November 29, 2008


The Maya vases are really funky and worth taking a look at. Some wouldn't look out of place as modern graffiti. Here's one of my favorites.
posted by vacapinta at 1:39 PM on November 29, 2008


why must you tempt me to stay indoors on this beautiful sunny sunday, Kattullus?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:53 PM on November 29, 2008


Wow, that's a terrific find. Thanks!
posted by languagehat at 1:54 PM on November 29, 2008


Oh, and look at this one, especially the figure on the right!!
posted by vacapinta at 1:55 PM on November 29, 2008


it's zombie Homer Simpson!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2008


Awesome. If I could favorite this more than once, I would. This, to me, is what the Blue is all about.
posted by vertigo25 at 2:36 PM on November 29, 2008


Massive!
posted by Wolof at 3:02 PM on November 29, 2008


Fantastic post, Kattullus. Thanks!
posted by homunculus at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2008




UbuRoivas: why must you tempt me to stay indoors on this beautiful sunny sunday, Kattullus?

I just hate you because of your freedom summer, Australian.
posted by Kattullus at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2008


the magnolia, gardenia & hibiscus are all flowering. jasmine & camellia are finished; frangipani comes later. nice day for the beach, but i'm gardening.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:12 PM on November 29, 2008


One of the myriad great things about poetry is that whenever I feel like a certain culture seems alien and impenetrable all I need are some poems to give me something to identify with, like this verse from Mayan Song to Dzitbalche:
I love you, beautiful lady.
I want you to be seen; in
truth you are very alluring,
I compare you to the smoking star
because they desire you up to the moon
and in the flowers of the fields.
Or these verses by Nezahualcoyotl, the great poet-king of Texcoco:
We will pass away. I, Nezahualcoyotl, say, enjoy! Do we really live on earth? Ohuaya, ohuaya.

Not forever on earth, only a brief time here! Even jades fracture; even gold ruptures, even quetzal plumes tear: Not forever on earth: only a brief time here! Ohuaya, ohuaya.
These are, of course, from the poetry links in the post.
posted by Kattullus at 7:18 PM on November 29, 2008


UbuRoivas: the magnolia, gardenia & hibiscus are all flowering. jasmine & camellia are finished; frangipani comes later. nice day for the beach, but i'm gardening.

Christ, man, you sound like a Lucksmiths song...

posted by Kattullus at 7:29 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


don't know the Lucksmiths, but have been reading the poetry of Kabir - Indian poet-saint who in the holy city of Kashi/Benaras/Varanasi sought to transcend the Hindu-Muslim divide.

for example:

It is needless to ask of a saint the caste to which he belongs;
For the priest, the warrior, the tradesman, and all the
thirty-six castes, alike are seeking for God.
It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint may be;
The barber has sought God, the washerwoman, and the carpenter--
Even Raidas was a seeker after God.
The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner by caste.
Hindus and Moslems alike have achieved that End, where remains no mark of distinction.


and this is also nice:

Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus,
and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.


(translations by Rabindranath Tagore)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:00 PM on November 29, 2008


This is great! It's always nice to know of course, and I'm delving in myself, but there's someone who I can point toward this who will really enjoy it and that makes it even better. Also, thanks for fleshing it out a bit and highlighting the 'good stuff!'
posted by librarylis at 2:16 AM on November 30, 2008


ooOoo I'm going to favorite this to look at later. Thanks for the small notes letting me know what each link is. I find that helpful.
posted by aetg at 7:06 AM on November 30, 2008


homunculus: thanks for the "Fighting Jaguars, Bleeding Rain" link - that article was really fascinating
posted by jammy at 7:10 AM on December 6, 2008


« Older A Mother's Love   |   Garden and Cosmos Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post