Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mayan Animal Hieroglyphic Glyphs of Opossum and Armadilo

Opossum (Didelphis yucatanensisD. mesamericana). Figures representing opossums are not with certainty identifiable in the Maya writings. We have provisionally identified as a frog the animal shown in Pfig. 6, although at first sight the two median round markings might be taken to represent a marsupial pouch. Stempell considers the animals found in the upper division of Dresden 25-28 as opossums of one of the above species, and this seems very possible. They are shown with long tails, slightly curved at the tips, and with long head and prominent vibrissae. A rather similar figure is found in the Nuttall Codex , fig. 7). There is nothing, however, that seems to preclude their being dogs and, in our opinion, they represent this animal.
Nine-banded Armadillo (Tatu novemcinctum). This is the common species of armadillo (Maya, wetÅ¡) found throughout the warmer portion of Mexico and Central America, where it is frequently used as an article of food, and its shell-like covering is utilized in various ways. Several representations of it occur in the Tro-Cortesianus , figs. 1-4), where it is characterized by its scaly covering, long ears and tail, and the moveable bands about the body.
This animal is associated with the bee culture, as it is represented twice in Tro-Cortesianus 103a figs. 1, 3) seated below a bee under an overhanging roof. The hunting scenes in the Tro-Cortesianus also show the armadillo; in 48a fig. 4) and in 91a it is shown in a pit-fall. In the last case the Cauac signs are clearly seen on top of the trap, whereas in the former case the same signs seem to be indicated by the crosses. Finally, this same animal occurs seated in Tro-Cortesianus 92d, fig. 2) facing a female figure. There seems to be no glyph used in connection with this animal.