Friday, July 31, 2009

Visits to other sites in Mayaland

One of the most interesting and beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico, in my opinion, is Palenque in Chiapas. In the photo on the left I am shown standing at the top of the stairs of the famous Temple of Inscriptions where the tomb of the great ahau Pacal was found down a buried stairway and in a sarcophagus covered with a huge nine foot long carved stone lid. I will show the illustration found on this lid of Pacal ascending from Xibalba (the 'jaws of the beast of hell', so to speak) toward the top of the tree of life or heaven of the Maya. Some of the guides tell of the belief of some that he is driving a spaceship, but I am not very impressed with that theory (probably Von Daniken's). Also, is shown a picture of me standing under a corbel arch at the top of the stairway to the tomb.
Next is a picture of the Temple from ground level and then of the Palace, as it is called, taken from the top of the Temple. I brought home a couple of souveneirs from Palenque. One is the leather rectangle with the picture of the sarcophagus lid drawn on it in sepia (shown above) and the other is a small bow and arrows set sold to me by the Lacandon Indians there at the entrance to the site, shown below.

I regret that we were not able to stay a couple of days at this site, because I would liked to have seen more of the area, including the stream going along its perimeter, because this ancient city plays an important role in my 7th century novel, IXTAN AND THE MARK OF THE JAGUAR, which I am finishing up at this time. What an amazing place this was! There were many things to see there, including the stucco portrayal of Maya life and religion, as in the Temple of the Foliated Cross, and the many glyphs in the Temple of Inscriptions. One of those glyphs was the simple 'utchi' glyph (see below), which means, "And it came to pass." A meaningful glyph to me, due to the ubiquitous nature of that phrase in the text of the Book of Mormon.

Well, I hope all who see this are inspired to go visit Palenque themselves! It is a worthwhile trip, and lots more can be seen in an internet search about the area, including a place to stay near the site, I believe.

The 'UTCHI' glyph --------------------------------------------------

Monday, April 13, 2009

Journeys to the Maya world

I want to also share some of my travel shots to the ruins (las ruinas) in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Thanks to my daughter, Jarnli, working for the airlines, I was able to afford four or five trips down there in the mid-nineties, one of them with Jarnli to Mexico City and Teotihuacan. Other trips were a BYU tour to all of those countries, and a tour with some Las Vegas Mormons to Mexico from Cancun to Teotihuacan. This is a picture from the trip with Jarnli taken at the Temple of Quetzacoatl. Jarnli stayed in the cool of the visitors center since we had already climbed the Temple of the Moon and walked down the Avenue of the Dead past the huge Temple of the Sun and she was pretty worn out. In fact, I will never forget what she said to me, "Dad, I want you to know that I am really enjoying being here with you, but I think I've seen enough carved rock to last me a lifetime!" Anyway, thanks to her I was able to make the trip! On that same Temple of Q. there is a depiction of the goggle-eyed rain god, Chaac, although that is the Mayan name and the ancient residents of Teotihuacan probably had another name for him.

Another trip was with Sally to Cozumel for our thirtieth wedding anniversary, although it was in February and our anniversary was the following July. We traveled by ferry to the mainland, rented a VW bug and drove down the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan to Tulum. There we were able to enjoy a view of the crystalline two-tone azure sea while visiting the ruins of this beautiful ancient site. Here is a view of the 'Temple to the Descending God' through a stone arch (left), a closer view (right) and a closeup view (center) of the rudimentary stucco image paying homage to this deity. Read more about this image in my section on my artifact collection!