[Video] Seminario 05/03/2021 – David Stuart: ‘Half Time’ among the Classic Maya : Katun Subdivisions and their Ceremonies

David Stuart (University of Texas at Austin) –  ‘Half Time’ among the Classic Maya : Katun Subdivisions and their Ceremonies

Comentarista : Nikolai Grube (Uni-Bonn)

Abstract: My presentation will take a new look at terminology used by Classic Maya scribes to describe major subdivisions of time, especially within the k’atun. Some of these terms and phrases were first identified in the days of Morley and Thompson, but with little if any regard to their ritual or wider cosmological meanings. Several new inscriptions and text readings allow for a reappraisal of the evidence, especially focused on Stela A from Copan and the texts associated with Temple XIX at Palenque. These point to a special interest by Maya time-keepers in ritually marking the well-known half-point of the k’atun (half of 7200 days, or 3600 days [10.0.0]) as well as of the “hotun” (half of 1800 days, or 900 days [2.9.0]). I suggest that the latter calendar station, not previously identified in a systematic way, was marked by a ceremony called k’am ch’ajan, “the rope-coiling,” and depicted on the west face of the Temple XIX bench. Also relevant to this discussion is a further discussion of the term than-lam, “half diminished,” which provides insights into the phenomenology of time and its animate aspects. The ritualistic and rhetorical concern with “mid-points” reflects a larger structural conception, defining time in terms of broader categories of centrality and bilateral symmetry.

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