Dwarfs as an ancient Mayan metaphor for the stars

Nolan, Suzanne (2018) Dwarfs as an ancient Mayan metaphor for the stars. In: Astrology as art. Studies in cultural astronomy and astrology, 10 . Sophia Centre Press. ISBN 9781907767104

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Ancient Maya artists commonly embedded hieroglyphics into pictorial art to help define andinform readings of the iconography. On Hieroglyphic Stairway 2 (HS. 2), atYaxchilan, this can be seenin the form of two dwarfs bearing the ek’hieroglyph on their bodies. Montgomery (2006) defines it thus:EK' (ek'/Ek') (T510af) 1> n. “star”; represents one-half of the full “star” glyph 2> n. “Venus”? The wordfor “dwarf”, aak, has also been identified as the ‘turtleconstellation’, because of the homophony between that and the word for “turtle”, ahk: either Gemini (Roys 1965; Milbrath 2000) orOrion (Foster 2005). Why have the dwarfs of HS2 been qualified with the ek’hieroglyph?What can this tell us about their identities and purpose on HS. 2? This paper seeks to answer these questions,and discuss how the dwarf could be used as a metaphor for a celestial body -whether a constellation orplanet -within Maya art and architecture. It will demonstrate the multi-layered meaning of the dwarfs’presence on HS. 2, as metaphors for astrology and astronomy in Maya art.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mayan, astrology, art
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Suffolk Business School
Depositing User: Suzanne Albary
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2019 08:56
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2019 08:56
URI: https://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/837

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