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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
1 William Osburn, Monumental History of Egypt, p. 260. See Appendix, note xi.
land," mentioned in the "Chou-King," that calls to mind the empire of the Mayas situated in the middle of the Western Continent, whose contour was that of a serpent, whose sovereigns were the Cans, or serpents; also the yellow color, prerogative of the royal family in China as in Mayach. Why have the Chinese a dragon on their imperial banner? Long, "the winged dragon," say the Chinese, is the being that excels in understanding. It is therefore among them the emblem of the god of intelligence, keeping watch over the tree of knowledge. Does not this "winged dragon winged dragon" recall the "winged serpent," emblem of the Maya Empire, also figured as a tree; and was not that tree the site of ancient culture, civilization, and knowledge? Again, on great and solemn state occasions, a precisely similar mode of consulting fate, by the emperor, to that pictured in the first tableau is still performed in China. It is called the ceremony of Pou, in which, instead of an armadillo, a turtle called Kuri is the victim.1
Returning to the description of the tableau: in front of the young queen Móo, and facing her, is seated the soothsayer, evidently a priest of high rank, judging from the colors, blue and yellow, of the feathers of his ceremonial mantle,
'In the fourth chapter, entitled "Hong-Fan,” of the fourth part of the Chou-King, at the seventh paragraph, Sloka 20, we read: "In all dubious cases the king selects an officer whose duty it is to consult fate. When installed in office he examines Pou."
Sloka 21: "This examination comprehends: 1st, the vapor in form of dew; 2d, the vapor when it vanishes in the air; 3d, the color, dark or dull, of the shell; 4th, the isolated cracks on the shell; 5th, the cracks that cross each other, and those that are joined together."
They believed that by these means they consulted the spirits Kuei, and only used this mode of divination when the knowledge sought could not be otherwise obtained, and was of great moment. It is well to notice that the name Ku-ei, given to the spirits by the Chinese, is identical with Ku, "the Supreme Intelligence," among the Mayas and Egyptians.
and as behooves the dignity of the consulter; he reads the decrees of fate on the shell of the armadillo, and the scroll issuing from his throat says what they are. By him stands the winged serpent, emblem and protective genius of the Maya Empire. His head is turned toward the royal banner, which he seems to caress; his satisfaction is reflected in the mild and pleased expression of his face. Behind the priest, the position of whose hand is the same as that of Catholic priests in blessing their congregation, and the significance of which is well known to occultists, are the ladies-in-waiting of the young queen.
I forbear now to read the meaning of the scroll, because its colors are here wanting; otherwise it would be an easy matter, knowing as I do the history of the lady, the import of the colors among the Mayas, and that of the shape of the lines forming the scrolls-image of speech in their paintings and sculpture.
In another tableau (Plate XL.) we again see Queen Móo, no longer a child, but a comely young woman. She is not seated under the royal umbrella or banner, but she is once more in the presence of the H-men, whose face is concealed by a mask representing an owl's head.
She, pretty and coquettish, has many admirers who vie with each other for the honor of her hand. In company with one of her wooers she comes to consult the priest, accompanied by an old lady, her grandmother probably, and her female attendants. According to custom the old lady is the spokeswoman. She states to the priest that the young man, he who sits on a low stool between the two female attendants, desires to marry the queen. The priest's attendant, seated also on a stool, back of all, acts as crier, and repeats in a loud voice the speech of the old lady.