Estudios Latinoamericanos 2022-02-09T14:21:51+01:00 Mariusz Ziółkowski Open Journal Systems <p>Estudios Latinoamericanos, issued by the Polish Association of Latin American Studies, is the oldest Polish scientific journal publishing material related to the wider history and culture of Latin America.</p> Introduction 2022-02-09T14:21:51+01:00 Michał Gilewski Agnieszka Hamann Stanisław Iwaniszewski <p>Introduction to volume by M. Gilewski, A. Hamann, S. Iwaniszewski</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Some reflections on principles of Isthmo-Colombian Amerindian ontologies 2022-02-09T00:27:51+01:00 Ernst Halbmayer <p>The search for ontological principles specifi c for the Isthmo-Colombian region developed slowly during the last decade and started from ethnographic data and anthropological experiences which diverge in specifi c ways from the ideal-typical ontological notions of animism or analogism. Th e paper present refl ections on a set of ontological principles, which – based on the current state of analysis – allow to characterize a variety of Isthmo-Colombian socio-cosmologies in non-essentialist terms and in delineation to Amazonian animism, which became used as interpretative frame also for contemporary indigenous groups further north. Th us, rather than proposing the existence of a specifi c and rigid Isthmo-Colombian ontology I will try to summarize a number of basic principles along which local socio-cosmologies diff er from the great ontological schemes like animism and analogism. By making some ontological links between the Isthmo- Colombian area and Mesoamerica visible the paper invites to rethink local principles in ontological terms, while avoiding the imposition of theoretically attractive, but only partially fi tting ontological schemata, which may cause selective misreadings and biased interpretations of local ontological principles.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Estudios Latinoamericanos “Straightaway Their Vision Came to Them”: Maya Ancestral Vision and Blood Memory 2022-02-08T12:43:18+01:00 Allen J. Christenson <p>According to the Popol Vuh, a Maya text compiled soon after the Spanish Conquest in the sixteenth century, the first men created by the gods had the gift of extraordinary vision whereby they could see all things: “Perfect was their sight, and perfect was their knowledge of everything beneath the sky.&nbsp; If they gazed about them, turning their faces around, they beheld that which was in the sky and that which was upon the earth.&nbsp; Instantly, they were able to behold everything.&nbsp; They didn’t have to walk to see all that existed beneath the sky.&nbsp; They merely saw it from wherever they were.&nbsp; Thus, their knowledge became full.&nbsp; Their vision passed beyond the trees and rocks, beyond the lakes and the seas, beyond the mountains and the valleys” (Christenson 2007: 197).&nbsp; Although the creator gods eventually clouded this vision so that men could only see those things which were “nearby,” the progenitors of the Maya and their descendents nevertheless bore within their blood the potential for divine sight, bestowed upon them by their creators.&nbsp; Present-day Maya traditionalist priests in the highlands of Guatemala believe that their divine ancestors, who set the pattern for contemporary rituals, continue to operate through them as conduits at appropriate times and under appropriate circumstances.&nbsp; It is their sacred ancestral vision that allows indigenous priests to “see” beyond the limits of time and distance as the first men once did as they conduct divination ceremonies connected with the ancient Maya calendar.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The concept of wrapping and its ontological character among the Maya 2022-02-08T12:43:16+01:00 Daniel Grecco Pacheco <p>A textile with its threads, its weft, and warp, for the western ontology, is a simple utilitarian object or a body adornment. This study will discuss the wrapping among the Maya, starting from concepts present in ancient and contemporary Maya thought to identify the ontological character of some ceremonial textiles present in these societies. Based on an approach proposed by the ontological archaeology, I will discuss the conceptual proximity between the terms <em>pix</em> (to wrap, to cover) and <em>pixan</em> (soul, or something that is received from the other world), to think of the wrap as an element of articulation between the two ontological spaces, allowing the presence of beings and entities of the cosmos in Maya cities of the Classic and contemporary periods.</p> <p>By generating the materialization and performance of these beings, wraps create relational fields that activate these entities temporarily in ordinary space, establishing effective contact with the Maya cosmos. A brief analysis of these Textile Beings present during the Classic Period will be discussed as a case study, in order to consider such a conceptual proposal.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 When prey is winik (person): the relationship between people, animals, and their Masters in Lacandon hunting 2022-02-09T00:37:32+01:00 Alice Balsanelli <p>The Lacandon Maya of Chiapas (Southern Mexico) conceive animals as subjects endowed with a soul (<em>pixan</em>) and agency. Therefore, they are considered to be ‘persons’ (<em>winik</em>) whose mode of living is analogous to the humans’: they’re socially organized, they work in their milpas, they perform rituals and worship their gods. The attribution of personhood to animals becomes an ethical problem during hunt, when the Lacandon hunter kills a prey considered to be a ‘fellow man’. Consequently, the hunt needs to be ritually justified and takes the form of a contract established between the hunters, the animals and the entities who protect them – the gods, the animal masters. It will be shown how the extension of the concept of personhood to animals influences Lacandon hunting ceremonialism, and how the theories proposed by the ‘Ontological Turn’ allowed to shed light on the Northern Lacandon hunt.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 De rerum natura: On the Nature of Existence and the Existence of Nature in the mundo maya and Beyond 2022-02-09T01:01:28+01:00 Harri Kettunen <p>In Mayan languages, as in many other Indigenous languages around the world, there is no traditional word for ‘nature.’ The lack of such terminology stems from the fact that the division between the human realm and the environment we live in has not been (historically or culturally) as separated as it is in the modern world. However, while there are no traditional words for ‘nature’ in Mayan languages, some of the languages use descriptive terms or neologisms that are oft en translated as ‘nature’ in dictionaries and other linguistic sources. The focus of this article is to understand the concept of nature in the Maya worldview based primarily on linguistic sources.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 The Extended Person in Maya Ontology 2022-02-09T00:33:50+01:00 Susan D. Gillespie <p>For the Maya reality is a unified whole within which every entity shares in the same fundamental animating principle. This is a relational ontology whereby no phenomenon is self-contained but emerges from relations with others, including humans and non-humans, in various fields of action.&nbsp; This ontology correlates with a more encompassing “process metaphysic” in which reality is in constant flux, continually “becoming.”&nbsp; The process metaphysic envisioned by philosopher Alfred North Whitehead provides a technical language for analyzing the composition and extension of Maya persons, using the model of personhood developed by anthropologist Marcel Mauss.&nbsp; In life individual Maya persons assembled divergent components endowed by their maternal and paternal ancestors, which were subsequently disassembled upon their deaths.&nbsp; They also assembled non-corporeal components–souls and names–that linked them to existences beyond the physical boundaries and timelines of their bodies.&nbsp; Aspects of personhood were also shared by objects worn or manipulated by humans. Persons were thus extended in space and in time, outliving individual human beings. Maya belief and practice reveals the fundamental process known as <em>k’ex</em>, “replacement” or “substitution,” accounts for much of the flux and duration of the universe as a Maya-specific mode of “becoming.”</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Rock art and rituality in the construction of the Maya person of the Postclassic period at Mensabak Lake, Chiapas 2022-02-08T12:43:02+01:00 Josuhé Lozada Silvina Vigliani Guillermo Acosta Patricia Pérez Jorge Ezra Cruz Diana B. Chaparro Víctor Hugo García <p>The notion of person among the Maya has been studied particularly for the Classic and post-contact periods. However, we know little about the Maya person in the Postclassic period. In this paper, our initial assumption is that the Postclassic rock art found in some of the cliffs of Mensabak Lake, Chiapas, conveys elements regarding the notion and construction of the Maya person. In this sense, we analyze the rock paintings and the material culture associated with the cliffs based on the anthropology of the person.</p> <p>For the Classic Maya, the limits of the person were relatively permeable, something that can be observed in various scenes of Classic art, given the presence of various essences emanating from the bodies of the individuals depicted therein. Permeability, in that sense, is expressed when the person is saturated by substances whose qualities influence the internal composition of the person.</p> <p>Here we discuss an interpretation of a rock scene from the Postclassic period, where we observe a ritual of construction of the Maya person. In addition, we conducted underwater archaeological surveys and archaeological excavations at the foot of a particular cliff, whose collected materials suggest the presence of a repeated ritual practice, where food was prepared, copal was burned and substances were exchanged with the deities.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Ah ch'ibal canob: rethinking celestial animals in the Paris Codex 23-24 2022-02-09T00:56:35+01:00 Stanisław Iwaniszewski <p><em>Pages 23 and 24 of the Post-Classic Paris Codex contain figures of thirteen celestial beasts interpreted as Maya zodiacal constellations. Traditional scholarship has long attempted to identify those animals with Western zodiacal constellations. &nbsp;Assuming this is correct, it would mean the Maya had chosen thirteen figures or names to represent groupings of stars located on or near the ecliptic. Thus, contrary to twelve Western (Greek-Roman) zodiacal constellations, each representing about 30° of the ecliptic, the hypothetical Maya constellations would occupy 13 locations within the ecliptic band covering only 27°-28° of its circle. Implicit in this is the idea that Maya zodiacal animals constituted forms of being similar to those played by Western zodiacal ones. However, this almost automatic identification of the Paris Codex figures with the Western zodiac creates an epistemic barrier in understanding what celestial beasts could mean for the Maya. To describe them in a purely astronomical light may lead us to impose our own Western concepts upon theirs, merging different cultural concepts on one epistemic level, thus restricting the further exploration of ontologically different perspectives.</em></p> <p><em>This paper aims to clarify the nature of the animals pictured in the Paris Codex 23-24. </em></p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Writing with heads: animated logographs and syllabograms in Maya writing 2022-02-09T00:58:50+01:00 Nikolai Grube <p>One aspect of Maya hieroglyphic writing that continues to fascinate us is its pronounced figurativeness, which finds its greatest expression in head variants of signs and in full figure glyphs. For a more systematic understanding of these personified signs, it is necessary to divide them into two groups. The first class are “essential personifi cations”. These are logograms that render names of anthropomorphic or zoomorphic beings by depicting their heads or other important parts of their bodies. The second class of personified signs are “unspecific personifications”, where there is no natural relationship between sign and meaning. These are most, syllabic signs. The animation of syllabic signs occurs especially in dedication texts. The study of the use and distribution of personified signs helps us to understand the relation between image, anima, and agency in Maya hieroglyphic writing.</p> 2022-02-08T00:00:00+01:00 Copyright (c) 2022