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of Rome always pictures the Virgin Mary with a serpent coiled at her feet. So, also, we see the Goddess Maya in Japan. She is represented standing on a rock, the name of which is symbolized by a dragon encircling it with its body, its head resting at her feet. In her hand she holds aloft a branch of the mangrove tree, bearing fruit. This is the totem, or name, of her family, Canchi. The mangrove tree and its fruit are called Canché in the Maya language; that is,
serpent wood,” from the appearance of its contorted roots, that resemble snakes. It is well, in this connection, to remember that even at the time of the Spanish Conquest the Maya Empire was called Nohcan, the great serpent, and also beb, the mulberry tree,' and the authors of the Troano MS. and of the Cortesianus always represented the Maya Empire either as a tree rooted in the South American continent, or as a serpent—sometimes with, sometimes without, wings. In another work I have shown, when speaking of the relation of the tree and the serpent with the country in the middle of the land,” that Yuen-leao-fan, a very ancient commentator on the
Chou-King,” says that kan means the trunk of a tree, and tchi are the branches.
Passing between the figures of armed chieftains sculptured on the jambs of the doorway, and seeming like sentinels guarding the entrance of the funeral chamber, we notice one wearing a headdress similar to the crown of Lower Egypt, which formed part of the Pshent of the Egyptian monarchs. We step into the hallowed place with as much reverence as if the body of the dead hero still lay in state within its walls after being prepared for cremation.
* Cogolludo, llist. de Yucathan, lib. i., chap. i.
Does not the memory of his life, of his exploits in war, of the bitter hatred of his brother Aac, of his death at the hand of the friend of his childhood, still hover there? So, also, that of the love of his sister-wife, Móo, who, we know, ordered the erection of this monument to perpetuate it; of his friends, who shed tears' for their companion in pleasure, their brave leader in battle, and whose effigies supported the altar on which offerings were made to his manes; of a whole nation that mourned the untimely end of their beloved ruler--he who brought glory, power, and happiness to the people ? In so saying, I am but the mouthpiece of the author of that celebrated Maya book, the Troano.
Troano MS., part ii., plate xvi., lower compartment.
It was with conflicting sentiments of awe and disgust that we contemplated the walls by which we were surrounded. Many before us had visited this apartment, and, by inscribing their names, disfigured what remained of the fresco paintings that once covered those walls from the plinth to the apex of the triangular arch forming the ceiling. Of these we saved, by making accurate tracings, all that was possible, noting the various colors in each part. The tints were still bright, some even brilliant. It seemed as if we had been transported to one of the royal tombs at Thebes, or to the cave temples in the island of Elephanta,' only here the artists were less trammelled by conventionalities in art. Their designs, freer, truer to nature, more correct in their delineations, particularly of the human body, show that the artists who executed them were masters in the art of drawing. Like the Egyptian, the Chaldee, and the Hindoo artists, the Mayas were little
Henry Grose, Voyage in the East Indies, chap. vii., p. 95. See Appendix, note xviii.
* John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 311. See Appendix, note xi.
acquainted with the rules of perspective. Their landscapes were, therefore, defective. 1
The frescos in the funeral chamber of Prince Coh's Memorial Hall, painted in water colors taken from the vegetable kingdom, are divided into a series of tableaux separated by blue lines. The plinths, the angles of the room, and the edges of the ceiling, being likewise painted blue, indicate that this was intended for a funeral chamber. We have already said that blue was the mourning color in Egypt, Chaldea, and many other places. The study of the tableaux proves that the history they are meant to record must be read from right to left; and, in this instance, from below upward.
The first scene represents Queen Móo when yet a child. She is seated on the back of a peccary, or American wild boar, under the royal umbrella of feathers, emblem of royalty in Mayach as it was in India, Chaldea, Egypt, and other places. She is consulting a H-men, or wise man; listening with profound attention to the decrees of fate as revealed by the cracking of the shell of an armadillo exposed to a slow fire on a brazier, the condensing on it of the vapor, and the various tints it assumes. (Plate XXXIX.)
This mode of divination is one of the customs of the Mayas that tends to show the influence of their civilization on Asiatic populations, even on that of the Chinese who seem to have adopted many Maya customs—unless it be again argued that they are mere coincidences : for instance, their mythical traditions of the Tchi, those children of Tien-Hoang, who had the body of a serpent, and lived in times anterior to Ti-Hoang, sovereign of the “country in the middle of the
William Osburn, Monumental History of Egypt, p. 260. See Appendix, note xi.