Maya hieroglyphic writing an introduction for research

The apparent multiplicity of these combinations leads at first to the conclusion that a great number of signs were employed in Maya writing, but closer study will show that, as compared with the composite characters or glyphs proper, the simple elements are few in number. For revolutions the accumulated error would be. The reed grass acatl is shown by the pointed leaves or spears which emerge from the lower part of a human figure. It is strongly indicative of phoneticism therefore to find the sound yaxkin, a combination of these two, expressed by the sign found in d. This important discovery, due largely to the researches of Dr. See his introduction to the Codex Troano published by the French Government. Doctor Thomas regarded the codices as religious calendars, or rituals for the guidance of the priests in the celebration of feasts, ceremonies, and other duties, seemingly a natural inference from the character of the scenes portrayed in connection with these day periods. Sometimes the glyph for this same sound takes the form of j, the fish element in k replacing the comblike element h. We would find, for example, July 4, , followed by unknown characters; April 12, , by others; and March 4, , by others. The "old school" continued to resist the results of the new scholarship for some time.

This, then, is the case with the Maya glyphs—we find dates followed by glyphs of unknown meaning, which presumably set forth the nature of the corresponding events. The very great preponderance of astronomical, calendary, and numerical signs in both the codices and the inscriptions has determined, so far as the beginner is concerned, the best way to approach the study of the glyphs.

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This exhibition and its attendant catalogue—and international publicity—revealed to a wide audience the new world which had latterly been opened up by progress in decipherment of Maya hieroglyphics. The reasons which have led him to this conclusion follow: First.

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For this latter reason the writer believes that the practice of recording history in the hieroglyphic writing had its origin, along with many another custom, in the southern area, and consequently that the inscriptions on the monuments of the southern cities are probably, in part at least, of an historical nature.

Similarly, the character representing the phonetic value kin is found also as an element in the glyphs for the words likin [ 28 ] and chikin see e and f, respectively, fig. In the s, progress revealed the dynastic records of Maya rulers.

Mayan hieroglyphics alphabet chart

A brief examination of any Maya text, from either the inscriptions or the codices, reveals the presence of certain elements which occur repeatedly but in varying combinations. The published writings on the subject of the Maya hieroglyphs have become so voluminous, and are so widely scattered and inaccessible, that it is difficult for students of Central American archeology to become familiar with what has been accomplished in this important field of investigation. Just as handwriting differs in each individual, so the delineation of glyphs differed among the ancient Maya, though doubtless to a lesser extent. Just how extensively do phonetic elements enter into the composition of the Maya glyphs? When the monuments of the southern cities are arranged according to their art development, that is, in stylistic sequence, they are found to be arranged in their chronological order as well. Outlines of the glyphs: a, b, In the codices; c, in the inscriptions. Thus the first 17 revolutions of the sequence are divided into three groups; the first 6 revolutions being computed at For this latter reason the writer believes that the practice of recording history in the hieroglyphic writing had its origin, along with many another custom, in the southern area, and consequently that the inscriptions on the monuments of the southern cities are probably, in part at least, of an historical nature. This is particularly true of the inscriptions, in which the known glyphs practically all belong to the first group. Success in deciphering, as we shall see, has not come through any of the above mentioned lines of research, which will not be pursued further in this work. The very great preponderance of astronomical, calendary, and numerical signs in both the codices and the inscriptions has determined, so far as the beginner is concerned, the best way to approach the study of the glyphs. Examples of glyph elision, showing elimination of all parts except essential element here, the crossed bands. The name-glyphs of the principal gods, the signs for the cardinal points and associated colors, and perhaps a very few others may be mentioned in this connection. This is true also of the two glyphs c and d, and e and f.

The reed grass acatl is shown by the pointed leaves or spears which emerge from the lower part of a human figure. Here, indeed, is portrayed with graphic touch the final all-engulfing cataclysm.

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We would find, for example, July 4,followed by unknown characters; April 12,by others; and March 4,by others.

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An Introduction to the Study of the Maya Hieroglyphs