6 Ajaw 18 Kej (November 26, 2013): Two stelae, two Maya languages

All across the Maya landscape, in recent years, new stelae have been planted. This blog focuses on two: one from Maní in the far northern lowlands, and one from the highlands of Guatemala at Iximche’.

All across the Maya landscape, in recent years, new stelae have been planted. This blog focuses on two: one from Maní in the far northern lowlands, and one from the highlands of Guatemala at Iximche’.

U Yits’ Ca’an “the dew of heaven” is an agricultural school dedicated to organic, natural food production.

U Yits’ Ca’an “the dew of heaven” is an agricultural school dedicated to organic, natural food production.

To mark the foundation of the school, director Atilano Ceballos commissioned a stela.

To mark the foundation of the school, director Atilano Ceballos commissioned a stela.

The dedication, in glyphs, is translated to Yucatec . . .

The dedication, in glyphs, is translated to Yucatec . . .

and Spanish.

and Spanish.

1000 kilometers to the south, at historic Iximche’ . . .

1000 kilometers to the south, at historic Iximche’ . . .

is a Kaqchikel stela at the entrance to the archaeological site. The stela project was organized by the Kaqchikel organization “Kaqchikel Winäq.” Pakal B’alam Rodriguez wrote the text in Kaqchikel and made the first glyph version. Q’aq’awitz Igor Xoyón, with the help of Iyaxel Cojti, made the final version in glyphs. The sculptor was Emerson Chicol.

is a Kaqchikel stela at the entrance to the archaeological site. The stela project was organized by the Kaqchikel organization “Kaqchikel Winäq.” Pakal B’alam Rodriguez wrote the text in Kaqchikel and made the first glyph version. Q’aq’awitz Igor Xoyón, with the help of Iyaxel Cojti, made the final version in glyphs. The sculptor was Emerson Chicol.

In a remarkable demonstration of epigraphic skills, the history of Iximche’ is told in the Kaqchikel language using Classic Maya glyphs.

In a remarkable demonstration of epigraphic skills, the history of Iximche’ is told in the Kaqchikel language using Classic Maya glyphs.

The front side begins with the creation at 4 Ajpu 8 Kumk’u’ and leads up to the arrival of the Spaniards.

The front side begins with the creation at 4 Ajpu 8 Kumk’u’ and leads up to the arrival of the Spaniards.

Side 2 covers colonial history up to 2012 and the completion of 13 Bak’tuns. A modern-day Rosetta Stone, three languages presented in parallel: Classic Mayan, contemporary Kaqchikel, and contemporary Spanish.

Side 2 covers colonial history up to 2012 and the completion of 13 Bak’tuns. A modern-day Rosetta Stone, three languages presented in parallel: Classic Mayan, contemporary Kaqchikel, and contemporary Spanish.

7 thoughts on “6 Ajaw 18 Kej (November 26, 2013): Two stelae, two Maya languages

  1. I am sitting in Quintana Roo enjoying the beautiful ocean. Your site was a surprise and a real pleasure to see the glyphs.

  2. It is very amazing that modern Maya are using their ancestral writing system in modern times for public display. I do have a question. I am interested in how the Classic glyphs can be adapted to modern languages, especially Kaqchikel which has sounds not found in Classic glyphs. What kind of conventions are the modern scribes using?

    • The Mayan hieroglyphic system is easily to use in all Mayan languages, including those of the present day, because all share common root: phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary, and so on. The very few Kaqchikel sounds do not find in the classic Cholan such as the post velars (q and q’) were made by using a neo-glyph-sign added to the velars, and that’s it. In 1990 we decided to create such small spiral “diacritic”.

  3. Hi MAM,
    Thanks for sending me your recent blog post on the erected Stelae at Mani and Iximche. How wonderful it is to see these new works! The Classic script is coming full circle with the modern Maya employing it to record the history of their communities. I made a few comments about the creation text on the Iximche stela:

    http://ajchich1.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/a-modern-maya-creation-inscription-just.html

    Let me know if it was OK to repost your photos with credits. If not I’ll take them down.

    Thanks again for keeping us updated on all things Maya.

    Best from OZ,

    Carl

  4. This is a really nice post, thank you. I love the “Ajay”: Así es ésto” ! The last time I was at Iximche, we were ready to leave, and waiting on others to catch up in the parking lot. I noticed something shining in the sunlight, and then the gate guard helped me extract a really nice obsidian core with a tire iron. I have experienced many Maya ceremonies at Iximche; it is sacred ground. Congrats to all involved with erecting these two stelae.

  5. How can I obtain a copy or copies of the worksheets used to create the stela>
    First drafts? Second drafts? Reasons for choices and decisions?

    How did the epigraphers/scribes/artists deal with the differences between the modern language and Classic Maya/Cho’lan? That is, differences in pronunciation, syntax, grammar, vocabulary?

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