The Paris Codex: Handbook for a Maya Priest
Publisher: University of Texas Press
xviii+124 with illustrations, figures, appendix, bibliography and index. Folio (9 1/4" x 8 3/4") bound in original brown cloth with gilt lettering to spine. Introduction by George E Stuart. First edition.
The Maya civilization left many records carved in the stones of its cities, but only four hand-painted books, or codices, are know to have survived from the pre-Columbian era. The Paris Codex is one of these (the others are the Dresden, Madrid, and Grolier codices), and this groundbreaking study is the first comprehensive treatment of this codex since 1910. The Paris Codex consists of twenty-two screen-folded pages of hieroglyphs, painted figures and calendrical calculations, which are reproduced in this volume. One section covers the calendrical sycles of katuns, tuns and uinals, which Maya preiests used to read history and predict the future. Other sections cover weather almanacs; the influence of God C, also known as k'u; the four year-bearers with their thirteen numbers; the Maya spirit entities, including sky gods and earth or death gods; and the Maya constellations. Bruce Love takes an ethnographic approach to the codex, analyzing its use by Maya priests as a handbook of divination, prophecy and history. He explores the unique features that distinguish this from the other three codices - the inclusion of historical material in the katun pages and the description of the Maya constellations or "signs of the night," which, he argues, do not necessarily correspond to the constellations of the modern zodiac. Whenever possible, he draws on ethnographic field work among the contemporary Maya of Yucatan to link the belief system represented in the codex with Colonial Period and modern-day May beliefs to show their continuity through time. The Maya priests who used the Paris Codex could see the myriad forces of the Maya spirit world arranged and organized on the pages before them. The interweaving of cycles within cycles became comprehensible and predictable. With this publication of The Paris Codex, contemporary students of the Maya, scholars and amateurs alike, can have the same experience as they look into these pages and discover the unity and harmony of the Maya cosmos.
A fine copy in like jacket.
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