|Sunday, December 7, 2003|
Astronomical Surface Decorations on Ceramics, Mesoamerica part IV
More on sky bands:
These graphics that encircle a pot, or larger structure, apparently carry astronomical information.
Maya murals and carvings show rulers wearing symbols of the heavens, including a belt or sky-band made of a chain of symbols relating to the Moon, the Sun, Venus, day, night and the sky. (Civilization.ca)
(This pot), incised with thin lines, the top of the vessel indicated a sky band divided in to compartments in vertical bars. Each compartment is filled with various symbols for stars or planets. (Barakat Gallery Store)
Indeed, Astronomy and the Iconography of Creation Among the Classic and Colonial Period Maya by KHRISTAAN D. VILLELA and LINDA SCHELE, explain a good deal about a star band repesenting stars and planets (while discussing the possibility of a Mayan zodiac.)
So here (finally) we have a device on the side of a pot that carries astronomical information. Perhaps it is more in the form of words (glyphs) than graphical representation of the stars postions. (However, the glyphs may be abstractions of the postions, as iconographic writing is want to do.)
I am curious to know how these sky bands were used, what does understanding them do to the meaning of the pot?
I think the Mayan would have used the sky bands for such a purpose-
In my other research tonight, I have found that there is a common notation that is used on some ceramic pieces called the Primary Standard System(PSS). This tells much about the vessel and would serve to give the proper perspective with which one is to understand the piece. (More to come on this...)
While I've appreciated the look of Mayan ceramic for awhile, it is these discoveries on how they encorporated textual meta-information that put them more near and dear to my heart.
Ummm...so to speak.