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Maya seats and Maya seats-of-authority Noble, Sandra Eleanor 1999

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MAYA SEATS AND MAYA SEATS-OF-AUTHORITY by SANDRA ELEANOR NOBLE B.Ed., The University of British Columbia, 1980 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1987 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Fine Arts; Art History) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1999 © Sandra Eleanor Noble, 1999 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ii ABSTRACT Interpretation of Maya social organization through material remains has long been a subject of speculation. The gap between data and interpretation inevitably involves the concerns and conditions of the society producing such interpretive discourse, and diverging interests and modes of analysis continue to result in alternative and often conflicting interpretations of ancient Maya society, often involving suppositions of systemic weakness that led to the collapse of its centralized or dynastic authorities in the ninth century. Currently central in such interpretations is the role of inscribed stone seats, erected by "subsidiary" or non-royal members of Maya society in "subsidiary" districts or suburbs of the major Maya polity of Copan. At issue are the problematic interpretations of these seats that have been constructed to support a particular construct of Maya sociopolitical organization and an inherent weakness that would have doomed it to collapse. This thesis explains the premises of this current interpretation and examines the Copan seats from several alternate viewpoints and methodologies. Formulation of a comprehensive dataset of actual Maya seats and representations of seats in sculpture, ceramic, and hieroglyphic contexts demonstrates that the Copan seats fit comfortably within Maya epigraphic, stylistic and iconographic conventions rather than representing a revolutionary challenge to dynastic authority. Through analyses of form and construction, locational context, varieties of decoration, and content of inscriptions, this thesis shows that such hierarchically-privileged seats-of-authority, which are found in residential complexes of very iii different socio-economic status, not only in Copan but throughout the Maya region in Classic times, better support a model of factional competition than of autocratic dynastic authority. These seats appear to have been designed to construct the social position of their occupants in relation to subordinate members of their own factions, to other faction leaders with whom they were in competition, and to the ruler as both head of the polity and leader of the royal faction. Indeed, discursive notions of the seat and seating were central to ancient Maya concepts of patriarchal authority. Further, since such factional competition may be shown to characterize Maya social organization since Late Pre-Classic times, the inscribed Copan seats provide no insights as to the causes of the so-called "Maya Collapse." IV TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract ii List of Tables vii List of Figures viii Acknowledgements xxvi Introduction The Problem: Maya Seats and Mayanist Stories 1 Mesoamerica and the Maya 12 Mayanist Discourses and Significant Moments 14 Outline and Methodology 26 Chapter One: The Literature On Maya Seats Models and Metanarratives, Histories and Hieroglyphs 30 More Encompasing Models 45 Conclusion 50 Chapter Two: The Dataset of Maya Seats Problematic Nomenclatures 52 Distribution and Statistical Distortions 56 Material, Context, Construction, and Decoration 63 Differentiation of Seats versus Seats-of-Authority 69 Conclusion 76 Chapter Three: Representations of Seats in Other Media Incorporating the Representative Data 81 The Evidence for Seats that Once Were 82 Correspondences - Actual Seats and Their Representations 91 Roles of Seats-of-Authority in Social Relationships 93 Chapter Four: Hieroglyphic Representations of Seats Maya Words for Seats and Related Titles 99 Verbal Expressions for the Act of Being Seated 102 Nominals for Seats, Territories, and Territorial Seats 103 Verbal Compounds Involving Seats 108 Conclusion 110 Chapter Five: Iconographic Analysis and New Interpretations Serpents 112 Bicephalic Monsters and Glyphic Head Forms 118 The Serpent/Sky Homophony 120 The Pauahtunob as Sky Raisers 125 Burial Seats and Burial Boxes 128 Ideological Messages 132 Chapter Six: Epigraphic Analysis for Copan Seats The Structure 9N-82 Seat ("Scribes' Bench") 136 The Structure 9M-18 Seat ("Harvard Bench") 140 The Structure 10K-4 Seat ("El Grillo Bench") 142 The Structure 10L-22 Seat ("Temple 22 Doorway") 142 Conclusion 143 Conclusions Maya Seats and Maya Seats-of-Authority 146 Collapsing "The Collapse" 150 Some Suggestions for Moving Forth 152 Bibliography 156 Tables 198 Figures 203 Appendix I: Actual Seats 278 Appendix II: Sculptural Representations of Seats 311 Appendix III: Ceramic Representations of Seats 321 Appendix IV: Hieroglyphic Representations of Seats 341 vii LIST OF TABLES PAGE Table 1 Temporal and Spatial Occurrences of Seats 198 Table 2 Maya Root Words Pertaining to Seats 199-200 Table 3 Dataset of Seats with Regional Sources 201 Table 4 Nine Varieties of Decorative Treatment 202 viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure Caption Page 1 Carved seat (2.3 x 6.65 m.) from central room of 203 Structure 9N-82 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781 (Fash 1991:161, fig. 98). 2a Carved seat from central room of Structure 9N-82 204 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie 1989b: 108). 2b Decipherment of text from carved seat of Structure 9N- 205 82 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781 (modified, after Scheie 1989b: 108). 3 Plan of Structure 9N-82 centre, Sepulturas District, 206 Copan (Webster 1989:23, fig. 10). 4 Structure 9N-82 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan. 207 Drawing by Barbara Fash (Webster 1989:66, fig. 64). 5 Plan of Plaza A, Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan 208 (Webster 1989:16, fig. 7). ix 6 Plan of Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan 209 (Webster 1989:10, fig. 5). 7 Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan. Reconstructed 210 perspective (Hohmann 1995:12-13, fig. 4). 8 Map of Copan Valley (modified, after Webster 211 1989:fig. 3). 9 Map of Mesoamerica (modified, after Leyenaar and 212 Parsons 1988.20). 10 Map of Maya Area showing geographic divisions 213 between Northern Lowlands, Southern Lowlands, and Highland/Coast regions (modified, after Schuster and Slayman 1997:centerfold). 11 Tikal, Central Acropolis, plan of structures visible in the 214 Late Classic period (Harrison 1970:9, fig. 1). 12 Tikal, Central Acropolis, plan of structures visible in the 215 Late Classic period with location of visible seats indicated (modified, after W. Coe 1970:54-55). 13 Piedras Negras Throne 1, found in Structure J-6, AD 216 785; a) reconstruction of original position (Morley 1946:369, fig. 39); b) photograph of the seat, now in Guatemala's National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K4899). 14 Seat and Tablet (Oval Tablet) from House E of the 217 Palace at Palenque, Late Classic period. A two-headed jaguar seat is depicted on the cushion-shaped tablet, while supports of the actual and later seat are decorated with atlantean pauahtun-ob. Drawing by Merle Greene Robertson (Robertson 1985:fig. 92). 15 Tablet of the Slaves, Group IV, Palenque, with captives 218 and supernaturals functioning as seats, AD 730. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Freidel et al. 1993:307, fig. 7:14). XI 16 Lacanja^Lintel 1, with a zoomorphic stone seat, AD 746. 219 Drawing by David Stuart (Bassie-Sweet 1991:168, fig. 57). 17 Lax Tunich Panel 4, showing two men of local 220 importance as pauahtun-ob supporting a hieroglyphic seat, late eighth century (photographer unknown). 18 The "Harvard Seat" from Structure 146, Group 9M-18, 221 Copan, AD 777; a) drawing by Barbara Fash (Baudez 1994:234, fig. 112a); b) decipherment of hieroglyphic text. 19 Detail from Palace Tablet, found in House AD in the 222 Palace at Palenque, Mexico, AD 721. From left to right the "tubular" seats are decorated with jaguar, shark, and serpent heads. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986:115, fig. 11.7). 20 Bench 1 (the "9.11. Seat") from the Subterranean Galleries in the Palace at Palenque, AD 652. Drawing by Merle Greene Robertson (Robertson 1985:fig. 423). 223 XII 21 Dais-type seats at Chichen Itza, Terminal Classic 224 period; a) Northwest Colonnade fronting Temple of the Warriors (Morris 1931: facing page 71); b) Mercado gallery, line sketch by Tatiana Proskouriakoff (Proskouriakoff 1963a: 104). 22 Fixed stone masonry seats showing common 225 placements within a room. Drawings by Colleen Fuller (after Harrison 1970). 23 Varieties of detached slab/support seats. Drawings by 226 Colleen Fuller and the author; a) drawing of seat decorated with textile and tassels, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K2784); b) drawing of seat with cantilevered sides, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5453); c) drawing of seat with trapezoidal supports, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5353); d) drawing of slab seat with supports and seat-back, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K6294). XIII 24 Drawing of Late Classic Maya cylinder vessel showing 227 male personages on slab-and-support seats with cantilevered edge. The left cushion is marked as balam or jaguar, that on the right is marked with a sign for chart or sky/serpent (Robicsek 1978:121, fig. 136). 25 Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing slab-and- 228 support seat with cantilevered edge and decorated with a hieroglyphic text (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K5109). 26 Varieties of portable stone seats. Drawings by Colleen 229 Fuller; a) drawing of seat in saurian form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5455); b) drawing of seat in jaguarian form, after drawing of wall-panel by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986:114, fig.ll:5); c) drawing of seat in circular form; d) drawing of seat in rectangular form. xiv 27 Varieties of perishable seats. Drawings by Colleen 230 Fuller and the author; a) drawing of palanquin or litter in box-form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K767); b) drawing of litter in sling-form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5534); c) drawing of interwoven mat; d) drawing of seat formed of three stones; e) drawing of jaguar pelt covered, stuffed cushion, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K1670); f) drawing of seat formed of lashed long-bones, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K1440). 28 Late Classic wooden bench found in cave in Maya 231 Mountains, Belize, 1995. Photograph courtesy of K. Prufer. 29 Drawings of Burial 116 in Structure 5D-1-1st (Temple I) 232 at Tikal, ca. AD 730, showing deceased ruler laid out on mat atop a masonry seat occupying the full length of the chamber; a) profile drawing (W. Coe 1990:259); b) plan drawing (W. Coe 1990:fig. 260). XV 30 Plan drawings of Middle Classic tombs at Kaminaljuyu 233 with burials on portable wooden seats; a) Tomb A-lll (Kidder et al. 1946:56, fig. 23); b) Tomb B-1 (Kidder et al. 1946:68, fig. 31). 31 Two Late Classic Maya cylinder vessels; a) showing 234 permanent masonry seat with fabric-upholstered seat cushion (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1559); b) showing a stone masonry seat in upper left, a wood-frame litter in lower left, and a fringe decorated niche-seat backed by a large stuffed cushion on the right (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K767). 32 Plan of Group 5G-1, Tikal, as example of Late Classic 235 Plaza Plan 2 arrangement with shrine at right and residential structures left and below (Becker 1971:235). 33 Atlantean-supported seat, Temple of the Warriors, 236 Chichen Itza, presumably removed from Temple of the Chacmool when it was largely buried inside this later edifice, Terminal Classic period (Morris 1931:facing page 37). XVI 34 Late Classic Maya Vase from region of Tikal, showing 237 figure on seat decorated with a woven mat design and textile fringe (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K2697). 35 Late Classic Maya vase, probably from site of Motul de 238 San Jose, showing seat with lashed pole construction (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K680). 36 Lintel 3 from Temple IV, Tikal, showing ruler on wooden 239 drum-shaped seat with back cushion, positioned on large portable seat with lashed carrying poles depicted in cross section in the lower corners, AD 746. Drawing after Jones and Satterthwaite 1982 (Sharer 1994:170, fig. 4:20). 37 Lintel 3 from Temple I, Tikal, showing both a portable 240 drum-shaped seat and a larger portable platform, ca. AD 730. Drawing by John Montgomery (Freidel et al. 1993:311, fig. 7:18). XVII 38 Late Classic Maya Vase painting illustrating a 241 zoomorphic stone seat and pelt-upholstered cushion seat. Detail of drawing by Persis Clarkson (Hellmuth 1976:fig. 29). 39 Late Classic Maya Vase found in Burial 196 at Tikal, 242 ca. AD 750, showing pelt-upholstered lower and back cushions (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K8008). 40 Late Classic Maya Vase from Department of Alta 243 Verapaz found in Ratinlinxul, showing portable litter of woven plant materials (Morley 1946:plate 88b). 41 Late Classic Maya Vase from Department of Alta 244 Verapaz showing ruler on permanent masonry seat topped by a plaited mat, a cushion, and a back-support with an attached zoomorphic face (detail from photo by ©Justin Kerr, K558). 42 Late Classic Maya ceramic miniature seat with seatback. Seat decorated with incised text, and a draped jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K6294). 245 xviii 43 Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing two males 246 seated on pelt-upholstered seat cushions, beneath a planetary band (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1669). 44 Middle Classic Maya Vase painting showing old God D 247 on planetary band seat with serpent heads (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1183). 45 Drawing of Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing 248 planetary band seat with old God D (Robicsek 1978:137, fig. 152). God D is named in the hieroglyphic text as chan-kun-winik or serpent/sky-seat-man (glyphs G,H, I, J). 46 Drawing of Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing 249 old God D on planetary band seat with cross-hatched snake markings and a serpent head. Drawing by L. Crocker (Hellmuth 1976:fig. 5). 47 Late Classic Maya Vase from Motul de San Jose showing seat and cushion draped with jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1452). 250 xix 48 Late Classic Maya Vase from Motul de San Jose 251 showing seat in the form of a rampant jaguar. The glyphic text records a ceremony at/on/with a balam-kuch or jaguar-seat (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1439). 49 Two Late Classic Maya Vases from Naranjo showing old 252 God L on a zoomorphic jaguar seat (photos by ©Justin Kerr, a) K2796, b) K7750). 50 Zoomorphic seats of three stones; a) detail from drawing 253 of a Late Classic Maya vase painting (after Robicsek 1978:154, fig. 167); b) drawing of the top of an altar from Caracol (drawing by Nikolai Grube). 51 Zoomorphic stone seat in form of crocodile, known as 254 Altar T at Copan, AD 783 (Scheie and Freidel 1990:332, fig. 8:18). 52 Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing pelt-upholstered cushion seat atop a zoomorphic stone seat (detail from photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1398). 255 X X 53 Bar or tube-shaped seats from the Late Classic period; 256 a) drawing of detail from relief panel in Temple of the Sun at Palenque (Robicsek 1978:59, fig. 56); b) drawing of Altar U, Copan (Scheie and Freidel 1990:333, fig.8:19); c) drawing of detail from Palace Tablet, Palenque (Scheie and Miller 1986:115, fig. 11.7). 54 Late Classic Maya Vase showing a fixed masonry seat 257 topped with a plaited mat, a fabric-upholstered cushion marked with the glyphic sign for seat (po), and a seat glyph (kuch) in woman's name text (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K2573). 55 Bonampak Panel 1, AD 683; a) drawing of panel 258 (Scheie and Miller 1986:116, fig. 11.8); b) analysis of inscription. 56 Zoomorphic jaguar seat in Lower Temple of the Jaguars, Chichen Itza, Terminal Classic period, circa AD 800 (Cohodas 1978:fig. 11). 259 XXI 57 Tikal Stela 20 with zoomorphic jaguar seat behind ruler, 260 erected AD 750. Drawing modified after Jones and Satterthwaite 1982 (Sharer 1994:172, fig. 4:21). 58 Two-headed zoomorphic jaguar seat from platform in 261 front of Palace of the Governors, Uxmal, Terminal Classic period, ca. AD 900 (Stierlin 1963:cover). 59 Seat known as Altar 41 at Copan, AD 771; a) drawing of 262 one side by Anke Blanck (Baudez 1994:142, fig. 67a); b) drawing of glyphs on opposite side and end by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Freidel 1990:332, fig. 8.18). 60 Drawing of incised bone from Burial 116 at Tikal, 263 ca. AD 730, with kuch-seat glyph as title in naming text (modified, after Scheie and Miller 1986:270, fig. 7.1). 61 Drawing of re-used Olmec jadeite plaque, incised by the 264 Maya with an image and text referring to an accession ca. AD 199. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986:119-120, plates 32a, 32b). xxii 62 Emblem Glyphs, components and examples; a) Tonina 265 (from Monument 29, drawing in Graham and Mathews 1996:Vol.6, Pt.2, 6:75); b) Tonina (from Monument 104, drawing in Graham and Mathews 1996:Vol.6 Pt.2, 6:127; c) Caracol (from Structure 1, drawing by Inga Calvin); d) Machaquila (from Stela 3, drawing by Ian Graham in Bassie-Sweet 1991:46, fig. 10); e) Seibal (from Stela 8, drawing in Graham 1996:Vol.7, Pt.1, 7:27); f) Calakmul (from Copan Stela A, drawing in Scheie 1989b:95); g) Yaxchilan (from Lintel 3, drawing in Graham and von Euw 1977:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:17). 63 Drawing of Lintel 25, Yaxchilan, AD 726, showing 266 bicephalic serpent in scene of ancestral contact (Graham and von Euw 1975:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:55). 64 Drawing of Lintel 13, Yaxchilan, late eighth century, 267 showing figure emerging from bicephalic serpent monster in connection with birth of ruler (Graham and von Euw 1975:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:35). xxiii 65 Doorway of Structure 10L-22, Copan, AD 715, showing 268 two pauahtun-ob in atlantean posture supporting a bicephalic monster over doorway to inner room; a) drawing by Annie Hunter (Maudslay 1889-1902: pi ate 12); b) drawing by Linda Scheie (Freidel et al. 1993:151, fig. 3:21). 66 Decipherment of text from seat-step of Structure 10L-22, 269 Copan, AD 715 (modified, after Maudslay 1902:plate 14). 67 El Grillo Seat from Group 10K-4, Copan; a) drawing of 270 front edge of seat (Baudez 1994:234, fig. 112b); b) decipherment of text. 68 Early Classic Maya cylinder tripod vase naming serpent as wak-nal chan-kun or raised-place sky-seat (Deletaille and Deletaille 1992:223, fig. 117). 271 xxiv 69 Early Classic Maya Lidded Cache vessel from Structure 272 5D-46, Tikal, showing serpent named wa/c-c/ian/raised sky; a) photo by ©Justin Kerr (K8009); b) detail of text (Scheie and Mathews 1998:78, fig.2:18). 70 Comparison of three varieties of seats, from left to right 273 seats with iconic references to jaguar, shark/water, and serpents; a) glyphic references to seats on Quirigua Stela C (drawings by Matthew Looper in Scheie and Looper 1996:92); b) three seated figures on Palenque Palace Tablet (drawing by Linda Scheie in Scheie and Miller 1986:115, fig. 11.7). 71 Monument 2 (92x120 cm) from Portrero Nuevo, 274 Preclassic Olmec, ca. 1200-900 BC. Photograph by Nadine Markova (Trueblood 1992:20). 72 Cutaway drawings of Temple of the Inscriptions, 275 Palenque, AD 683, showing stairway and tomb of Pakal; a) drawing modified after Alberto Ruz Lhuillier (Robertson 1983:fig.12); b) drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Freidel 1990:218, fig.6:1b). XXV 73 Ceramic box/seat (40 x 40 x 30cm) from Copan site or 276 region, decorated with bicephalic serpent and jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K2991). 74 Drawing of Early Classic Maya cylinder tripod vase 277 showing deceased in wrapped bundle displayed on slab-and-support seat (Scheie and Mathews 1998:122, fig. 3.27; after photo by ©Justin Kerr, K6547). xxv i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The path leading to this thesis has been long and winding indeed. I wish here to thank a number of institutions and people who have given generously of their financial resources, their time, their skill, and their moral support to enable me continue. During the early stages of my work financial assistance through University of British Columbia Graduate Fellowships, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Izaak Walton Killam Pre-doctoral Fellowships made it possible for me to travel to Maya sites and museum collections to further my understanding of ancient Maya societies. More recently I have received cherished grants of time and support from Lewis Ranieri, Sylvia Thibado, and Rita Fleming (of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc.) that have enabled me to complete this work. I wish to thank many colleagues whose insights and expertise have enlivened this study, in particular: Inga Calvin, Chuck Calvin, Barbara Kerr, Justin Kerr, Simon Martin, Peter Mathews, Dorie Reents-Budet, Lynn Rusheinsky, Linda Scheie, Joanne Spero, and Khristaan Villela. Additional thanks are due to Barbara and Bill Fash and the Instituto Hondureno de Antropologia e Historia. Support and encouragement from friends and family has been ever so important for me. Trapps and Bardsleys; Putnams and Swaynes; Lillita, Francesca, and Scarlett; and especially my extraordinary Jays; I thank you from my heart for your understanding patience, and for your caring so much, and so very well, for me. I gratefully thank Professors Maureen Ryan and Katherine Hacker for many hours spent in consulting, reading, and advising that have guided the thesis to its present form. Lastly I thank my supervisor, Professor Marvin Cohodas, for his patience, generosity, wisdom, and goodwill. 1 INTRODUCTION The Problem: Maya Seats and Mavanist Stories There will never be sufficient data on an ancient society to attempt a full understanding. Therefore archaeological interpretations of the past inevitably rely on imaginative reconstructions based both on established frameworks of hypotheses and on educated guesswork. As some critics have noted, the gap between data and interpretation is always filled according to present concerns (Becker 1979, Pendergast 1989, Tilley 1989, Wilk 1985). Although the precise manner in which these gaps are filled, and the specific interpretations which thereby emerge, differ significantly, the particular stories told about certain monuments will inevitably speak more closely to the concerns and conditions of the society and institutions producing such interpretive discourse than they do about the concerns and conditions of the ancient society that produced these material objects. Attempts to circumvent presentist bias by incorporating multiple viewpoints into these analyses to arrive at a "reasonable" explanation offer only a partial solution, since as interpreters we often cannot recognize our own biases let alone get around them. Further, even before the data can be interpreted through the application of narratives that express present agendas, they are framed within a genealogy of previous interpretations that have been perpetuated without adequate critique of their assumptions and methods. The resulting narrative thus "rings true" to a current public because it is consistent both with previous knowledge disseminated by archaeologists and art historians and with their immediate concerns. This problem is particularly acute with the Mayanist 2 discourse which, due to the lack of any clear division between popular and academic writing over much of the last century (Porter 1998), has been characterized by particularly dramatic and occasionally sensationalized narratives. One recent example of this dramatic Mayanist discourse will be utilized as a focal point for this thesis and the analyses I will present concerning the meaning and function of ancient objects and the problematics of their interpretation. In 1980, archaeologists David Webster and Elliot Abrams uncovered a well-preserved and finely carved seat in the structure designated as 9N-82 in the Sepulturas district of the Maya site of Copan, Honduras. This masonry platform, dated by inscribed hieroglyphs to AD 7811, was clearly marked as important to the ancient Maya by its large scale, central placement, and complex sculptural programme. Yet it has assumed a far greater significance in the years since its excavation. This seat has been interpreted as a key to the solution of what is considered the greatest puzzle concerning the ancient Maya, the collapse of their dynastic authority and abandonment of their cities in the ninth century. According to the interpretation that is now widely accepted, by commissioning the carving of a seat that was daringly elaborate for a suburban patriarch, the person who lived in Structure 9N-82 was involved in recklessly appropriating a royal-prerogative. In league with other non-royals committing similar acts, he thereby undermined dynastic authority and as a result contributed significantly to the "Maya Collapse" (Fash 1991:136; Scheie and Freidel 1990:342-43). 1 Maya dates are converted to the Christian calendar according to the currently-accepted Goodman-Martinez-Thompson (GMT) correlation. For discussion of the dating of this monument in particular, see Scheie and Freidel (1990:491, n.62). 3 This interpretation signals many of the problems with current Mayanist interpretations of the ancient past, including assumptions of dynastic authority that was autocratic but nevertheless too weak to survive political challenge, and therefore that the collapse was inevitable due to inherent failures of the socio-political system that had already doomed it when it was formulated a millennium earlier. This interpretation also demonstrates that a form of decontextualization, which treats an object as unique rather than in terms of its place within a set of similar objects, can facilitate the elaboration of presentist narratives. This thesis sets out to reconsider the interpretation of both the Copan Structure 9N-82 seat, and by extension, the assumptions about ancient Maya society and appropriate methods of interpretation that enabled this narrative to persist and even achieve canonical status. By using a contextual approach which relies on a comprehensive dataset that I have compiled, in conjunction with various comparative methodologies which will be elaborated in the course of this study, this seat is revealed to be more conventional than singular and revolutionary in placement, form, imagery, and text. In order to situate both the critiques of this interpretation and the revisions I will propose, it is necessary first to describe the seat in question in terms of its form and its architectural context and to clarify the interpretation briefly introduced above. Subsequently I will place these residential complexes within the broader history of Maya civilization in the region called Mesoamerica and introduce some of the problematics of Mayanist discourse that have led to the production of narratives like the one that now occupies a place of authority on this ancient seat. 4 The seat in question, measuring 2.3 meters wide and 6.65 meters long, is attached to the back wall of the central room in Structure 9N-82, spanning the entire length of the room and taking up most of the interior space (Figure 1). As illustrated by art historian Linda Scheie's drawing, the seat consists of three main elements: six basal supports, several horizontal stone slabs forming the seat itself, and two end "bolsters" (Figure 2a). All the components of the Structure-82 Seat were made of green tuff, a locally available and easily-worked stone. Over the individual slabs of the seating surface were layers of highly burnished stucco plaster (some 6-7 centimetres thick) with traces of red paint remaining upon excavation. The seat supports are carved with images of aged "atlantean-figures", known from other Maya media to be supernatural pauahtun-ob2 whose task is to support the earthly realm from falling back into the dark underworld realm. The major figures at each end of the seat represent youthful male "lords" identified through their pose, costume, and ornament. The seat front is carved with a hieroglyphic inscription in the rare full-figure mode. The basal platform of Structure 82 which houses this seat is approximately 50 metres long and 10 metres wide, and is fronted by a monumental stairway that runs the entire front face of the structure and leads to the central plaza below (Figure 3). Though its final stage appears as a single building, Structure 82 was originally composed of three separate units; Structure 82-West, Structure 82-Central, and Structure 82-East, with the flanking structures slightly set back from the facade of the central building. That the Structure-82 seat was intended as the hierarchical 2 A suffix of -ob indicates plurality in some Maya languages. 5 focus of that structure and its building complex is clear. Not only was the seat constructed within the central and plaza-facing room of Structure 82-Central, but the flanking east and west-facing rooms are fitted with plain, uncarved seats. In addition to the symmetrical plan of the structures and interior rooms of the Structure 82 complex, the more elaborate relief decoration displayed on the facade of Structure 82-Central also serves to highlight the prominence of that building over those structures that surround it. A reconstruction drawing of the facade shows how the interior seat could be seen from outside the building (Figure 4). Also illustrated are representations of the three-dimensional seated dignitaries (likely ancestors) on the upper facade, and the busts of two supernatural figures holding scribal implements (a half-shell paint holder and a stylus) and enframed within skeletal serpent jaws, located on the lower fagade flanking the central doorway. In addition to these scribal figures from the lower facade, a three-dimensional sculpture of an anthropomorphic Howler monkey, also holding writing implements, was excavated from the fill of an earlier Structure 82-Central beneath. On this basis Structure 82 is sometimes referred to as "The House of the Scribes." 3 Four structures delineate Plaza A at Sepulturas that is dominated by Structure 9N-82 (Figure 5). Structure 9N-80 on the north side is a freestanding, single-room building set on a raised platform and approached by a single stairway and is thought to correspond to the "special-purpose" ritual building, or "shrine" as 3 Some Mayanists assume an interchangeability of supernatural scribes and pauahtun-ob (bakab-ob), hence Structure 9N-82 is also referred to as "The House of the Bacabs" (Webster 1989:4). Scheie and Freidel call Group 9N-8 "The Scribes Compound" (1990:85). However, in this case the Maya themselves incorporated scribal implements together with the necklace, headdress, and hieroglyphic 6 originally defined by archaeologist Marshall Becker (1971) and later expanded upon by Gair Tourtellot (1988a). By contrast, the three adjoining structures of Plaza A (9N-81, 9N-82, 9N-83) are multi-roomed buildings with seat platforms constructed in all rooms, evidencing their residential use (Webster 1989:19-29). Although conjoined in their final phase, they were initiated as separate buildings and seem to have existed throughout their history for individually distinct functions (Webster 1989:18). While its relative patio size, architectural arrangements, burial and sculptural elaborations differentiate Plaza A as the hierarchical focus of Group 9N-8, it is only one of the eleven patio-complexes that collectively configure the Sepulturas complex. A brief description of the other patio-complexes, labeled 'B' through 'K' on the Group 9N-8 plan (Figure 6), explains the residential nature of the Sepulturas community. An architectural reconstruction of the Sepulturas area, (Figure 7), provides additional information vis-a-vis the relative spatial and architectural aspects of the various patio groups. Archaeologist Julia Hendon's studies of the Group 9N-8 compounds demonstrate architectural and practical differences both within and among the various plazas (1991:904-908). Such differences include not only distinctions of size, construction techniques, number of rooms, and degree of ornamentation, but also the differing content and amounts of associated midden materials, burials, and ancillary structures. A comparison of Plaza A with Plaza E, which directly adjoins it, illustrates most of these differences. As well as being built on a lower elevation than markings of pauahtun-ob: the three-dimensional figure is thus a scribe-pai/aWL/n composite. 7 its immediate neighbour, and having less elaborate constructions than Plaza A, none of the structures in Plaza E have either exterior, or interior, carved surfaces. Another difference Hendon notes between these two plazas is the smaller room sizes in Plaza E, in contrast to its larger terrace surfaces - which were used for food preparation, cooking, and serving. Though evidence for these tasks is abundant in Plaza E, it is nearly absent from Plaza A. Hendon has also noted that while Plaza A contains the most elaborate as well as one of the oldest known Maya tombs, its seven burials4 are in great contrast to the remains of scores of persons encountered in burials in Plaza E. Furthermore, while all burials in Plaza A were male, all but two of the 67 burials in Plaza E were female. As Cohodas has suggested, in part on such evidence, Plazas A and E represent two functionally interdependent components of a single unit (Cohodas 1996). The contrast and interrelationship of Plazas A and E seems repeated in the contrast of Plazas B and C. In the same way that Structure 9N-82 dominates Plaza A, so too is Structure 9N-69 the hierarchical focus of Plaza C, and this structure likewise contains a Seat-of-Authority (see Chapter Two) facing directly into the centre of its patio group. Also, besides the hieroglyphs decorating the Structure-82 Seat, the only other text in the entire Group 9N-8 was found on Structure-69 in Plaza C (Hendon 1991:905). Furthermore, just as evidence for food preparation was found primarily in Plaza E, similar utilitarian terraces and remains of food-processing activities (braziers, manos, and metates), were likewise more prevalent in Plaza B than in Plaza C. 4 Remains of two additional individuals were excavated in Plaza A during the 1998 field season. 8 As the plan of Group 9N-8 (in Figure 6) suggests, rooms and patio sizes for Plazas D, H, I, J, and K are considerably smaller and more crowded than those previously discussed and, as Webster notes (1989:10-15), most were constructed later (after circa AD 750) than the longstanding and rebuilt structures of Plazas E, A, B, and C. The relatively strong evidence of craft specialization and non-local ceramic samples collected from the later plazas are commensurate with increased inter-polity trade and settlement. While Plaza J, directly north of Patio B, contained an abundance of cooking materials and trash, the adjacent Plazas D and I each evidenced both food associated equipment and ritual goods. As Hendon's studies show, individual structures were task-specific, with evidence for maize grinding and cooking separated from evidence of food processing and preparation, and from evidence for storage facilities (1987:498-505). The structure-specific pattern also includes evidence of ritual goods: though the structures themselves are far less elaborate than their counterparts in the larger plazas, Structure 76 of Plaza H and Structure 63 in Plaza D both exhibit materials associated with ritual activities (i.e. worked jades, batons, ornaments). Plaza K is atypical for a number of reasons, likely due to the Post-Classic nature of its building construction (Webster 1989:13). As Hendon points out, the buildings have unusual room and patio arrangements (1987:504-505). As it is generally assumed that seats in Maya houses provide sleeping space, those encountered in almost every room of the entire Sepulturas area seemed to verify a residential function for the group as a whole. (Seats within individual rooms of the structures are shown on the plan reproduced in Figure 6). Work by Hendon 9 continued the investigation of the structures of Group 9N-8 (1987). Her studies of the varying architectural features in association with particular groupings of artifacts enabled her to demonstrate patterned relationships between structures used for domestic activities such as food preparation, cooking and storage, and those used for living space or ritual functions. Hendon clarifies however that the majority of buildings, regardless of their construction, proved to be associated with artifacts strongly suggestive of residential occupation. While the focus of Hendon's studies was the Sepulturas area, she notes that similarly patterned relationships, albeit of a smaller scale, were found within other zones beyond Gopan's main group (Hendon 1987:548). As demonstrated by a map of the entire Copan Valley (Figure 8), Sepulturas is one of several smaller communities located within a few kilometres of the Principal Group of Copan, the later designated as Group 10L-2. Shown on the plan are Group 9N-8 (or Sepulturas), Group 8N-11, Group 9M-18, and Group 10K-4, each representing additional residential areas with interior seats. While the Central Acropolis Group (10-L2), is generally considered the urban centre of the Copan polity, the smaller communities surrounding that central core are variously described as secondary, subsidiary, or suburban areas of the polity. As the plan indicates, broad plaster-paved causeways (known by the ancient Maya as sacbe-ob or "white or artificial roads") provided access between subsidiary communities and the central city core. William Fash, another archaeologist involved in the excavation of Structure 9N-82, is one of several Mayanists to include interpretations of the Sepulturas 10 discoveries. Fash's 1983 doctoral thesis, Maya State Formation: A Case Study and its Implications, focused on interpretations of the sculpture and functions of Group 9N-8, his "case study". Fash later explained (1989:68-69) that the model he developed is rooted in the problematic demographic and environmental conditions extant during the reign of the last Copan ruler, which were "exacerbated by factional politics among the oldest and/or most powerful lineages." Although Fash claims that Structure 9N-82 should be appreciated as a monument to the local lineage (Fash 1989:72), his explanations also hint at his conception of a flawed Maya society. His early suggestion that such a monument is evidence of "the king and his court seeking to ensure continued tribute by bestowing the ultimate royal prerogative upon the most important lineage heads: hieroglyphic texts and relief sculptures with complex imagery" (Fash 1989:70) demonstrates Fash's understanding of the Structure 9N-82 seat as an abrogation of royal privilege. Fash amplified this argument in his 1991 volume Scribes, Warriors, and Kings: The City of Copan and the Ancient Maya. In this work Fash claims that the construction of an elaborately carved hieroglyphic seat inside such a "sumptuous" structure in a sub-urban area was an unsanctioned rural replication of royal prerogative unauthorized by the ruler which therefore "signals a decentralization of power". Fash then speculated that if other seat platforms in likewise suburban groupings also represented similar usurpations, then non-royal nobles were threatening the power of the ruler (Fash 1991:136). Finally, Fash hypothesized that this threat to royal power by contesting nobles led to the overthrow of the Copan dynasty, and that this overthrow could be related to the pan-Maya "Collapse", recognized by the cessation of permanent 11 architectural construction, sculptural monument erection, and polychrome ceramic painting in the ninth century. This presumed "illicit" construction, which is postulated to have contributed to the downfall of Maya city-states and kingships, involves an important series of assumptions including: the existence and long-term stability of royal prerogatives; that the usurpation of royal prerogatives could end or signal the end of dynastic power; and the unique character of a particular monument - the Structure 9N-82 Seat. While the first two assumptions are difficult to either support or refute, the last can be tested by comparative analysis. It is for this reason that part of the present thesis involves the construction of a dataset for Maya Seats. Fash's later interpretation became widely known even before his 1991 book appeared because it was adopted and amplified in the 1990 volume A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. This work was written by Linda Scheie, an art historian and epigrapher widely acknowledged as the leading Mayanist of the time, along with archaeologist David Freidel. In closing their chapter on Copan, Scheie and Freidel speculate on events and circumstances that may have eroded dynastic power during the reign of Copan's 16 t h ruler, V'ax-Pas. They suggest that: "Although he [Yax-Pas] had struggled valiantly to retain the loyalty and cooperation of the nobles in his valley, his strategy did not ultimately succeed", because "There were too many people, too much of the forest gone, too many nobles grabbing honor and power for their own benefit, too little faith in the old answers, too little rain, and too much death" (Scheie and Freidel 1990:342,343). In a recent volume written by archaeologist Robert Sharer (1996), and intended as a 12 university textbook, these views are repeated. Sharer recounts the same story concerning supposed problems in the Copan Valley after its divine king "unwittingly increased the power of the nobles. They proclaimed their power on the carved thrones in their palaces, where they held court like lesser versions of the Copan king himself (Sharer 1996:74). Mesoamerica and The Maya In order to investigate the evidence and assumptions which led to the production and widespread currency of the particular interpretation outlined above, and thereby to characterize issues of importance in current Mayanist discourse, the Structure-82 Seat and the site of Copan in which it is located needs to be positioned within the larger context of the region known as Mesoamerica. "Mesoamerica" is not a physiographic unit: it is an analytic unit called a "culture area" first defined by Paul Kirchoff (1943, see map Figure 9). His use of the term "Mesoamericans" describes the ancient peoples of southern Mexico and northern Central America known to have shared a number of distinctive characteristics including: a similar pantheon of deities; dependence on an agricultural system centred around cultivation of maize, beans, squash, and cacao; vaulted and pyramidal structures; the playing of a rubber ballgame in specially prepared courts; the use of a calendrical system which combined a solar calendar of 365 days with a ritual calendar of 260 days; and the use of paper books for recording history and ritual almanacs. In other words, "Mesoamerican" refers to the general lifeway ultimately shared by an estimated 13 thirty-five million inhabitants in an area of about one million square kilometers (Blanton et al. 1981:219), between 1500 BC and AD 1500. The ancient Maya cities of eastern Mesoamerica were built by the ancestors of the modern Maya, six million of whom now live in the present countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and El Salvador (Figure 10). The geographical setting is marked by great contrasts: from the more temperate Guatemalan and Salvadoran Highlands to the rainforests of the Southern Lowlands in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and Mexico, and from there, to the flat, limestone grasslands in the Northern Lowlands of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. In spite of the frequently unfavourable climatic conditions and adverse cultivation conditions, the style of Maya civilization known as "Classic" continued for the millennium of circa AD 0-1000. Their cities, now considered to have reached populations of up to 60,000, included: terraced pyramids some twenty stories high; residential and administrative centres with several individual structures opening onto protected courtyards; huge expanses of paved plazas and causeways for public gatherings and processions; and elaborate ballcourt constructions. Such cities, and/or their subsidiary sites were often connected via causeways stretching for miles in several directions. Maya representation appears on free-standing monoliths known as stelae and altars, on murals, ceramic vases, bones, shells, inset wall panels, doorway facades and lintels, and on seats. This representational style has been distinguished from that of other Mesoamerican groups by the emphasis on elegantly attired human figures with attenuated limbs, and the extensive hieroglyphic texts. Stylistic and iconographic aspects of the material corpus, in tandem with thermoluminescence, 14 carbon-14, and obsidian hydration dating techniques, have been employed to distinguish a Classic Maya era (circa AD 200 - 900), from a formative or PreClassic period (BC 2500 - AD 200) and a later Post-Classic period (AD 900-1535). The Classic era has itself been subdivided into Early Classic (AD 200-450), Middle Classic (AD 450-650), Late Classic (AD 650-800), and Terminal Classic (AD 800-900) periods5, (see chronology, Tablel). Mayanist Discourses and Significant Moments Although scholars are able to date material objects within these chronological eras with some certainty, interpretation of ancient Maya social organizations that utilized such objects has long been a subject of speculation. Since the turn of the nineteenth century, scholars and adventurers alike have wondered: what kind of society built the impressive architecture decorated with painted murals, sculptural portraits, and narrative scenes; who produced the painted ceramics, the carved jades, the incised hieroglyphic texts; and for what purposes. Interpretations of the nature of ancient Maya society and the solutions posited to these questions through the history of Mayanist discourse have proven unstable, changing radically over the last 150 years. As one example of this change, archaeological investigations of the last half-century have served to negate earlier perceptions of the 1950s that these sites were ceremonial centres, largely uninhabited except for public occasions that beckoned the masses from their farmlands. The mapping projects at Tikal (Carr and Hazard, 5 For an explanation of Maya chronological definitions, see Miller and Taube (1993:9-12). 15 1961) and subsequent examples at other sites, such as Coba (Folan 1983), Copan (Gordon 1896), Dos Pilas (Houston 1993), Mirador (Matheny 1986), Palenque (Barnhart 1998), and Piedras Negras (Houston 1998), have demonstrated that the monumental remains lie at the heart of dense urban centres. A related example concerns interpretation of hieroglyphic texts, the subject of scholarly discourse since the publication in 1864 of Diego de Landa's Relation de las Cosas de Yucatan (originally written circa AD 1566, [Tozzer 1941:vii]). During the decades from the 1890s until the 1950s when only the calendric portions of the texts could be read, it was assumed that these inscriptions dealt entirely with matters of time and eschewed historical content, but the analysis of inscriptions on stelae at the site of Piedras Negras by Tatiana Proskouriakoff demonstrated conclusively that the inscriptions document the histories of Maya rulers and other important persons (Proskouriakoff I960).6 A final example of change over the last 150 years concerns the polychrome ceramics privileged in the illustrations of texts on Maya society and occupying a particularly high status on the antiquities market. The absence of information on provenience that arises from their illegal excavation has been countered by the application of neutron activation technology, capable of identifying long-separated ceramics as having been formed from the same ball of tempered clay, for example.7 While Mayanist studies have depended primarily on the contributions of archaeologists, epigraphers, and art historians, several other disciplines (sociology, 6At the time of these discoveries, Proskouriakoff held a position with the Archaeology Division of the Carnegies Institution of Washington. 7 See Bishop, Rands, and Holley (1982) and Reents-Budet et al (1994). 16 anthropology, history, ethnography, ethnology, linguistics, astronomy, religious Q studies) have been, and are increasingly becoming, more intensely involved as well. Due to training involving similar assumptions, and increasingly now because so many academics with differing disciplinary backgrounds are presently working collaboratively to advance an understanding of the ancient Maya, it is often difficult to distinguish the work of persons trained, for example, in departments of Fine Art from the work of those whose degrees were granted by Anthropology or Archaeology departments. Art historians share with many archaeologists a "culture historical" approach that emhasizes reconstruction of history and pays particular attention to symbolic interpretation of major monuments and the dominant members of ancient society who used them.9 This approach contrasts with a processual approach that uses settlement patterning to investigate long term changes in the interactions between population, environment, and technology, and pays particular attention to smaller scale households and the reconstruction of subistence practices and identification of work areas. The important methodology of settlement pattern study in the field of Archaeology is attributed to Gordon Willey.10 In brief, Willey's instigation of settlement surveys was based on the premise that spatial patterns of household structures and land use would reflect human behavioral patterns that could provide significant data concerning ancient social organization as well as subsistence and 8 See for example: Aveni (1982), Macri and Ford (1997), Pohl (1994), Spitz (1991). 9 From the early 1970's until her untimely death in 1998, Linda Scheie was the pre-eminent Mayanist culture-historian, focusing on iconographic and epigraphic studies of monumental carvings and painted ceramics. 1 0 See Baudez (1994:6) for a history of Gordon Willey's significant contributions to Maya Studies in general and the Copan Valley in particular. 17 residential practices. His studies of surface level ground plans and architectural types also investigated ecological and environmental issues in conjunction with the distribution of human activities (Willey 1956, Willey and Bullard 1965, Willey et al. 1978, Willey and Leventhal 1979). The approach of Willey's formative involvement in the ongoing Copan excavation project was taken up by William Sanders and David Webster (1975). Their analysis of the patio and structure containing the 9N-82 seat included a ground-breaking comparison of residential patterns in such "suburban" and even "rural" areas with the structures on the downtown Copan acropolis (Webster 1989:99), the differences being ones of scale (quantity) rather than kind (quality). Archaeologist Robert Sharer likewise concludes that the city centre merely represents "a larger and more complex version of residential clusters" (1983:474). Although patterns of architectural arrangement, and the differential distribution of prestige goods are common both to downtown complexes associated with the ruler, and to surrounding and outlying residences associated with non-royal kin groups, some culture historians have instead persisted in identifying core residences as royal "temples" (Scheie and Freidel 1990:225, Fash 1991:170). While at times it appears as though the Culture Historical and Settlement Pattern discourses are separate, there have been collaborations between these two approaches. In some cases, such collaboration has resulted in the imposition of an artificial rural-urban dichotomy, where settlement pattern specialists study relations between kinship and agricultural subsistence in smaller outlying residences while culture historians 18 reconstruct historical events and belief systems through study of the inscriptions and figural representations of the downtown core. Advances in the decipherment of these Maya texts constitute a second precipitous change in Maya scholarship in the late 1950s and early 1960s, contemporary with the application of settlement pattern archaeology. As anthropologist Michael Coe details in Breaking the Maya Code (1992), Proskouriakoff was not the sole architect of this interpretive revolution. Due to Cold War politics, Soviet scholar Yuri Knorosov's 1952 demonstration of the phonetic character of Maya hieroglyphic writing (using information from de Landa) was underutilized in Western Europe and America (Knorosov 1967). Working in Mexico, Heinrich Berlin (1958) demonstrated the connection between particular sites and a glyphic compound that he termed the "Emblem Glyph". Using Knorosov's phonetic approach, American linguist Floyd Lounsbury later demonstrated that the compound was a title carried by the principal lord (the ahaw) of the place or polity (Lounsbury 1973:123). In addition to demonstrating the historical content of Maya inscriptions, Proskouriakoff in 1960 was able to ascertain the syntactical structure of ancient Maya writing, establishing the methodology for structural analysis of Maya texts and their historical context that is used today by Maya epigraphers.11 While these phonetic and syntactic methods have proven effective and have withstood all challenges, hence being considered "correct," they do not at present solve all the epigraphic problems. In instances when information is unavailable to fill gaps between data and interpretation, present concerns, assumptions, and 19 paradigms often underlie the solutions. These are brought into play not only where particular glyphs cannot be surely interpreted, but also in the determination of the intent rather than the content of particular texts. Such interpretations are usually guided by the premises of an Autocratic Model favoured by culture historical Mayanists and thus fail to significantly consider contestation, falsification, and non-royal agendas or viewpoints. In his Study of Archaeology, archaeologist Walter Taylor (1948) outlined his proposed Conjunctive Approach to Maya Studies with the demand that scholars understand firstly, that their research merely produces one of many possible constructs of ancient life and secondly, that their research must serve to connect, to conjoin, to relate the possible meanings of material objects with the possible meanings of their suggested social constructions. Taylor was adamant that Mayanists shift their interests from seeking evidence of flaws and mutations causing collapse of the Maya hierarchy, to an interest in the variations which occurred throughout the entire Maya sphere and which, "in the aggregate, comprise the stuff of which Maya history was made and of which Maya history should be written" (1948:66). Prior to any attempt at a contextualized synthesis, argued Taylor, the different types of evidence must first be analyzed separately, according to the methods developed in their corresponding fields. The conjunctive approach that Taylor called for was not implemented in Maya archaeology until the 1980s, when it became most closely identified with the work of 1 1 The Maya Hieroglyphic Workshops offered annually by the late Linda Scheie in Austin, Texas (1976-1998) and by Peter Mathews in Cleveland, Ohio (1990-1997) have their basis in Proskouriakoff s structural methodology. 20 William Fash at Copan. 1 2 The most extensive publication on the Copan excavations, Fash's previously mentioned Scribes, Warriors, and Kings: The City of Copan and the Ancient Maya (1991), includes a good review of the history of explorations and discoveries in the Valley of the Copan River. Fash summarizes present knowledge of ancient Copan, accumulated since its first visit by John Stephens in 18391 3 and rightly explains how a conjunctive, multidisciplinary approach implemented in the Copan Valley has "taken Copan archaeology far beyond what has been possible previously at any other Maya site" (1991:60). Fash's career in the Copan Valley began while he was a student of Gordon Willey, whose objective was to complete settlement pattern surveys of the residential group east of the central core while attempting to learn more about the lives of people other than the elites. When Fash became director of the Copan Mosaics Project in 1985 his stated goal was to conserve, document, rearticulate, reconstruct, and to interpret the hundreds of fragments of facade sculptures both in the Central Acropolis of the city and in the outlying valley settlements as well (Fash 1991). Obviously this collection of tasks was beyond the scope of a single crew, and thus Fash invited scholars from other Mayanist fields, including epigraphers, artists, ceramists, and iconographers that enabled an on-site, multi-disciplinary collaborative 1 2 For reports of excavations and studies in the Copan Valley see: Abrams (1994), Agurcia (1986), Andrews and Fash (1992), Fash (1991), Hendon (1987,1991), Hohmann (1982, 1995), Joyce (1991, 1993), Leventhal and Fash (1983), Sharer (1997), Webster (1989), Willey, Leventhal, and Fash (1978). 1 3 J. L. Stephens, an early adventurer and diplomat whose worldly travels included explorations in Europe, Egypt, and the Americas, described Maya sculpture as commissions of an elite class whose works were supported by the non-elites (Stephens 1841). 21 programme of investigation, some of the results of which appear in his 1991 publication. However, while his conjunctive programme allowed for a multiplicity of scholarly viewpoints and discussion, as I will later demonstrate, some of the assumptions evident in Fash's volume suggest it may have been intended for a more popular audience. Indeed, the far reaching and rationally argued goals espoused by many Mayanist archaeologists have for more than a century been compromised by a popularizing and profoundly ideological inclination that has always been highly politicized, if only occasionally overtly so. The popularizing nature of Maya discourse may be illustrated by citing from the introduction of an academic text entitled Maya Civilization. Distinguished archaeologist T. Patrick Culbert writes: From the moment of its discovery, Maya civilization has fueled the imaginations of those with a bent for romance. Giant stone temples, some as tall as 20-story buildings, lurk within a brooding, trackless forest. Ancient tombs contain royal riches - the handiwork of master artisans -and a long undeciphered script holding centuries-old secrets. Adding to the intrigue is the realization that the creators of this flourishing culture disappeared, leaving a vast area empty and lifeless (Culbert 1993:9). Terms like romance, royal riches, secrets, intrigue, disappearance, and lifeless evoke the widely popular travelogues of late nineteenth century Europe, but are here and today used to compel their readers to continue reading that they too may experience the romance, the intrigue, and learn the secrets associated with the archaeological discoveries. As general editor of the textbook series, archaeologist Jeremy Sabloff introduces Culbert's volume with the claim that, "by placing the 22 ongoing changes in thinking about the ancient Maya in a historical context, and then offering readers a state-of-the-art overview of current archaeological conceptions of the development of Classic Maya civilization and its ultimate demise, the author [Culbert] is able to dispel the old aura of mystery that surrounded discussions of the ancient Maya" (Culbert 1993:4). I disagree with Sabloff. It is difficult to believe that Culbert's work functions effectively as a tool to update understanding of ancient Maya Civilization when its opening lines instead reinforce the century-old notions of a mysterious Maya, their mysterious ceremonial centres, and the mysterious demise of their kings and kingdoms. Rather, it engages readers by continuing to promote the ancient Maya as a contemporary puzzle while continuing the colonialist subjugation of contemporary Maya peoples through characterization of their lands as abandoned and thus available for appropriation. The problem of the "Maya Collapse", symptomatic of the popularizing trend in Mayanist discourse, dominates and underlies most approaches to the Late Classic era (AD 650-800) in which the Structure-82 Seat was carved. With characteristic insight, Proskouriakoff suggested that "Maya Studies exist because a large group of people find it [the calamitous collapse] disturbing to our complacent faith in constant progress..." (1963a:xiv). The "Maya Collapse", mentioned in almost every publication concerning the ancient Maya, has been the subject of several conferences and several volumes (see Culbert 1973; Sharer 1996), and is still the subject of major excavations. The notion of a "Maya Collapse" was elaborated in 1946 by archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley, in his final work, a text on The Ancient Maya. Based on 23 patterns of the chronological glyphs he had documented through much of the Maya area, Morley determined that during the century of AD 800-900, virtually all of the known cities in the Southern Lowlands had been vacated, that architectural, intellectual, and religious activity had come to a halt, and that the populations had dispersed. As presently known, the last dated Maya stone monument is a stela erected in AD 909 at the Southern Lowland site of Tonina (Chiapas, Mexico). It is referred to by Scheie and Freidel as "the last historical declaration of the Classic Maya kings" (1990:392) and, for such culture historians, the cessation of monumental architectural and sculptural constructions marks the time when Classic Maya culture "collapsed". By contrast, processual archaeologists, through their concentration on kin-based residential groups that survive the dynastic disintegration, have instead cautioned that this dramatic notion of a pan-Maya "collapse" is overplayed. Morley's model of an inherent process from a "rise" to a "fall" of ancient Maya civilization set the tone for collapse theories which have dominated Maya studies for more than a half-century. His work inadvertently served to reinforce notions of the Maya as a fallen and disappeared people, characterizations that undoubtedly have had a negative impact on the fortunes of Maya peoples in the late twentieth century. By limiting his interest to monuments inscribed with dates, Morley's reconstructions of the Maya could only conclude that the termination of dated monuments coincided with the termination of the Maya themselves. Because his admiration for the literacy and mathematical skills of those he called "the New World Greeks" would only allow him to consider external forces which caused "the demise of my people" (Morley 24 1946), he also reinforced the notion of the ancient Maya as a static, inflexible entity whose only recourse when assaulted by external forces was collapse. However, since no external calamities could be found as an explanation for this "mystery", Morley felt the cause was within the framework of Maya civilization itself: social unrest, governmental disorganization, religious disbelief, and the resultant economic failure due to the "law of diminishing returns" (1946:67-73). Morley's evolutionist premise that the drastic change in social organization was disastrous failure, together with his idealist view of the fallen civilization, set the course for the next two generations of Maya studies. Following Morley's delineation of several suspected causes of collapse, the majority of researchers continued his pursuit for evidence of such events as: earthquakes, violent climatic changes, recurrent epidemics, foreign cqnquest, incessant warfare, intellectual and aesthetic exhaustion, and/or agricultural failure which would have been followed by corresponding social decay, governmental disorganization, and eventual abandonment of the cities. Several of Morley's explanations were reiterated and amplified in a 1970 meeting of specialized Mayanists organized to solve the "mystery". As described by T. Patrick Culbert in a publication following the seminar "The collapse of the Classic Lowland Maya civilization is a very specific problem, narrowly delimited in time and space. [It] has been a problem of major interest to anthropologists for several generations. Yet despite years of debate, no single explanation for the phenomenon has won a consensus" (1973:3). In 1985, archaeologist and household economist Richard Wilk proposed an explanation for 25 this lack of consensus by demonstrating that these interpretations of reasons for collapse invariably express present concerns. The contesting popularity of warfare and ecological degradation as prevalent explanations for the "Maya Collapse" that has characterized the years since Wilk produced this study serve to prove Wilk's point on the presentism of collapse explanations. Such current concerns likewise account, at least in part, for the collapse explanation Fash derived from his analysis of the Structure 9N-82 seat, as a usurpation of royal power undermining dynastic authority and with it the entire foundation of Classic Maya society. The current popularity of this decentralization interpretation may or may not relate to late twentieth century decolonization, an inquiry that will not be taken up in this thesis. This thesis is instead concerned with the interpretive paradigms and models of Classic Maya society that permit such explanations. In particular, this explanation derives from what art historian Marvin Cohodas (1996) has called the Autocratic Model. 1 4 Based on an earlier two-class model of Maya society (priests versus peasants) promulgated by historian and archaeologist J. E. S. Thompson (1954), but revised through her discovery of dynastic records and the institution of kingship, Proskouriakoff in the 1960s sketched the outlines of this Autocratic Model of dynastic rulership that have been filled in subsequently by Scheie and her many students and collaborators (myself included, Noble-Bardsley 1987, 1990, 1992a). Taking the partial picture provided by dynastic inscriptions as if it were the whole picture, this model assumes that Maya rulers exerted autocratic control over the 1 4 Labels for each model are capitalized herein to clearly distinguish them from other arguments. 26 populace, raising all the important architectural and sculptural monuments, and building up the downtown core of cities by their construction of a plethora of "temples". One of the additions to this Autocratic Model associated particularly with Scheie and Freidel is the notion that autocratic power of the ruler derived from a social contract held with the populace, where the ruler agreed to work solely for the benefit of the people, and the people in return dedicated their time and labour to the glorification of the ruler through erection of his monuments. Scheie and Freidel compare this hypothesized social contract to the American Constitution (1990:18). In the context of this model, Fash's suggestion that non-royal men usurped royal prerogatives actually means that a group of power-hungry men, with no concern for long term consequences but only for their own interests, broke the social contract and thereby destroyed Maya society. Outline and Methodology I have introduced this thesis through the problematic of a single interpretation of a single monument. However, the issues of central concern to me are broader. I employ this case study in order to determine by what methods and under what assumptions of Maya social structure such objects may be "read" and their "readings" inserted into a characterization and history of ancient Maya society. The Structure 9N-82 Seat, and others like it at Copan, remain central to the thesis as a heuristic focus, but the emphasis is on multiple methods of interpretation. I wish to clarify at the outset that the paradigm underlying all of the interpretive viewpoints explored in the succeeding chapters is hypothetico-deductive and that the underlying 27 methodology is comparative. In each chapter, a different aspect of the seats will be considered from this comparative method in order to ensure that any interpretations derived therefrom are supported by contextual evidence. Chapter One looks at how such seats have been interpreted within Mayanist discourses, illustrating the instability of all interpretations including, of course, those offered herein. In particular, this examination of the literature will relate interpretations of Maya social structure to interpretations of Maya seats. This will allow me to argue that archaeologist Elizabeth Brumfiel's model of (inherent rather than destructive) Factional Competition (1994, see below) accounts best for the varying forms and contexts of Maya Seats, an hypothesis that may be tested in subsequent chapters. Chapter Two explains and utilizes a dataset of Maya seats that I have compiled from the literature on exploration, mapping, and excavation of Maya sites. These seats are investigated in terms of spatial and temporal extent as well as material, construction method, and form. Pan-Maya characteristics will be distinguished from regional and temporal variations, and dominant Seats-of-Authority, presumably occupied by a lineage head, will be distinguished from seats occupied by subordinates. Specific fashions for particular forms of construction and decoration of Seats-of-Authority will be related to the 9N-82 seat at Copan as a form of competitive display central to Brumfiel's Model of Factionalism. Chapter Three examines representations of Maya Seats-of-Authority in figural media, particularly stone and wood sculpture, mural and ceramic painting. This analysis emphasizes the variety of form and decoration associated with Maya seats 28 as well as the variety of socio-economic levels associated with those who sit upon them. Such variety clearly undermines the Autocratic Model and suggests that Maya factions were hierarchically organized on the basis of status within the kin group. Chapter Four examines the use of glyphs representing Seats-of-Authority and the acts of being seated, dedicating seats, causing damage to seats, and capturing seats, as deciphered and interpreted from hieroglyphic inscriptions. A variety of such expressions is noted, even to accompany a single image or to refer to a single event. More importantly, interpretations of glyphic expressions clarify that seats and seating were central metaphors for a patriarchal form of authority that further clarifies the nature of Maya factions. Chapter Five is concerned with the imagery found on both actual Maya Seats-of-Authority and their representations in other figural media. In particular, the motifs of serpent, bicephalic monster, and atlantean support that appear on the 9N-82 seat are investigated in terms of their relationship to ideological legitimation of patriarchal authority. The Structure-82 Seat at Copan is found to be consistent with widespread connotations of seat decoration connected with cosmogony as the raising-of-the-sky and the erection of primordial Seats-of-Authority. Epigraphic analyses of the inscriptions on the 9N-82 Seat as well as three contemporaneous seats at Copan are the concerns of Chapter Six. The inscriptions are shown to focus on the dedications of structures and their seats within, and the political relationship between the dedicators and the contemporary Copan ruler. Both devices are typical of not only seats but also other monuments, such as lintels or wall panels, erected by patriarchal faction leaders during the Classic Maya period. 29 The Conclusion reviews these interpretations to suggest that the Structure-82 Seat might be more productively read as part of an ongoing process of factional competition that characterized Classic Maya society for a millenium, and not as an exception that signals its downfall. Some of the problems of the current Maya discourse will be reviewed in order to argue for alternative approaches. 30 CHAPTER ONE: The Literature On Maya Seats Models and Metanarratives, Histories and Hieroglyphs The ways in which the ancient Maya are perceived today are the product of a complex layering of discursive avenues, some of which, through repetition, have become so ingrained in our conception of Maya history that the bases of their premises are rarely considered. Thus one aspect of this study is to review and critique some commonly-held assumptions and points of view that affect the interpretation of seats and their social functions. I will examine previous treatments of seats framed by a number of discourses including early and later Culture Historical Models, Processual Models, models based on Ancestral Kinship and Developmental Cycles, forms of an Autocratic Model, Factional Models, Historical Narratives, and a model of Institutional Articulation. 1. Earlier Two-Part Historical Models of Social Organization Based on his European notions of appropriate dwelling spaces, J. E. S. Thompson condemned Maya masonry buildings as unsuitable for habitation, "with no chimneys or regular windows, and being prone to dampness" (1954:57-58). From his understanding of ancient Maya society as one governed by priests, he further claimed that these buildings must only have been used occasionally for calendric ritual purposes, and hence any furnishings were viewed as "altars." This primitivizing notion that posits a sacred existence in the past as an opposition to secular modernism in the present still persists among some culture historians. Many 31 authors refer to elongated table-like stone slabs supported on pillars as "sacrificial altars." Furthermore, even in a single publication such an object may be referred to in one sentence as "a table," yet in subsequent pages that same object becomes "a sacrificial altar." For example, in his description of a single seat explorer Teobert Maler variously refers to the object as "a table," "a sacrificial stone," "a sacrificial table," and "an altar" (Maler 1901:54-55). Understandably, for ease of reference, contemporary authors often continue to employ original assignations, thereby unwittingly perpetuating the terms on which Thompson's now-rejected argument for Maya cities as largely uninhabited "ceremonial centres" were once based. 2. Processual or Settlement Pattern Models of Social Organization In the Settlement Pattern or Processual discourse, masonry seats are commonly referred to as seats or beds, and are considered diagnostic of a residential function for the building in which they are located. In Webster's account of research at Sepulturas (1989) he warns readers of the potentially divergent goals of the traditional study of Maya elite culture versus the interest in reconstructing larger behavioral systems and institutions (Webster 1989:1-4). In describing his investigations at Sepulturas (1980-1984), Webster states that, following Willey's approach, the dominant goal of the project was to extensively excavate a large sample of archaeological complexes in the hope that their range of sizes and spatial complexity would help to solve important issues concerning functions of Maya architectural complexes and sociopolitical structure. Webster describes Group 9N-8 of Sepulturas as an area of elite residence as indicated, in part, by "the seats, which 32 take up most of the space in almost every excavated room" (1989:13). While he allows that the most impressive item in the Sepulturas complex is the hieroglyphic seat in Structure 9N-82 (Figure 2a), Webster compares it to other seats as another example of a domestic architectural feature: "At Copan, as at other Maya centres, benches are encountered in structures of all kinds and on all social levels. In Group 9N-8, they are ubiquitous and clearly, an important interior feature even in domestic households of commoners. The most spectacular single find [of the 9N-8 Plaza A] is the hieroglyphic bench in the central room of Structure 9N-82" (Webster 1989:30). Following Willey's lead, other archaeologists acknowledged evidence of residential use at a number of sites (M. Becker 1971, A. L. Smith 1950, H. E. D. Pollock et al. 1962, R. E. W. Adams 1977, D. Freidel and J. Sabloff 1984). In his volume The House of the Governor, archaeologist and architectural historian Jeff Kowalski traces this growing acknowledgement of residential functions, noting that over the past decades increasing interest in ascertaining the functions of all types of structures has resulted in more extensive excavations of structure interiors, leading of course to seats being found in multiple locations (1987:75-86). While Kowalski allows that many interior rooms are "use-neutral," (being of similar size and sometimes containing no built-in furnishings), those containing a seat most often evidence sleeping as one of perhaps several uses of that space. Excavations at Joya de Ceren in El Salvador, conducted over the past decade by Payson Sheets (1990, 1992) have uncovered data that conclusively demonstrates the notion of multifunctional structures and furnishings. That the site was completely preserved by volcanic ash allowed Sheets an "un-retouched view" of 33 several Maya residential structures, wherein things are stored on seats during the day, that were then moved to the floor and into the niches beneath the seats at night, when the rolled mats were brought down from the rafters to prepare the seat as a bed. 3. Kinship Models of Social Organization One of the most valuable Mayanist studies of recent years is settlement archaeologist Patricia McAnany's volume (1995) concerning the significant role of ancestors in kinship systems. McAnany discusses the tensions within lineages, and particularly the need to perpetuate constituent inequalities by legitimating patriarchal inheritance, not only of the residence but also of the lands and orchards used to support the group: i.e. legitimating control over the means of production. Through her archaeological and ethnographic investigations of ancestral veneration McAnany demonstrates how, with successive sub-floor burials, households became domestic mausolea where ancestors "slept and insured the chain of continuity in resources as transmitted between the generations"15 (McAnany 1995:160). McAnany describes contemporary Maya "family shrines" being set up on seats positioned above the burials, a practice that seems a continuation from ancient times. That is, some burials have been unearthed in excavations directly below known original positions of seats. One example is a hierarchically privileged seat in the lower east-central room of Structure 5D-46 at Tikal positioned above a burial (Harrison 1970:169). McAnany notes that over time, the "places of the ancestors" contained in individual 1 5 According to contemporary Maya informants, this is one of the primary roles of ancestors (McAnany 1995:160). 34 domestic structures were considered sacred, and eventually came to serve as ritual seats for that particular patriarchal family. Similarly, Fash's accounts of the Sepulturas excavations describe earlier structures and a burial beneath the centre of Structure 9N-82, and thus of the carved seat. A connection between the sequence of dominant burials associated with Structure 9N-82 and McAnany's discussion of the making of ancestors through elaborate burials to legitimate continued inheritance of important resources, is provided by Gair Tourtellot's application of the Developmental Cycle Model to residential groups at Seibal. Tourtellot explains how the relative degree of status and elaboration in all types of residential units often correlates with the relative ages of the structures (1983:49-50; 1988b). That is, while the larger dominant structure is usually the earliest construction, it is also the structure that is most frequently renovated, and often contains more and finer objects. Furthermore, Tourtellot found that the dominant structure of each plaza group is often associated with an initial elaborate burial that may be considered to belong to the founder of the lineage.16 Utilizing such evidence that Structure 9N-82, with its elaborate central seat and its association with the most elaborate tombs in the complex, dating back more than a millenium, had developed over many generations as a seat of power for the leaders of the Sepulturas community, Webster postulated that the structure could be identified as the administrative focus of the complex (1989:39). In contrast, Julia Hendon, who analyzed the spatial contexts of portable objects and fragments encountered in excavations, found strong evidence of food preparation near 1 6 Examples of frequently renovated structures with elaborate burials in the acropolis group at Copan are Structures 10L-16 and 10L-26. 35 Structure 9N-82 and food consumption within, suggesting a residential as well as administrative function (Hendon 1987:538). Her reconstruction of the residential use of the rooms and seats in Structure 9N-82 is guided by considerations of six groups of activities which can be considered as good indicators of residential occupation: sleeping, food preparation, food service and consumption, production or manufacture of items, activities of ritual observances, and the passive act of "storage" (Hendon 1987:21-23). Takeshi Inomata's excavations in rapidly abandoned structures at Aguateca, Guatemala also provide important information and interpretations concerning the function of seats (Inomata and Triadan, in press). The distribution of objects characteristic of patio groups as at Copan were found within the multiple rooms of single buildings such as Structures M8-10 and M7-35 excavated by Inomata. The axial importance of the seat in the central room was supported by the unusual artifact assemblage, with very few and often ritually important objects in the central room and, in one case, a male burial in front of the seat. So few objects were found there that Inomata presumed the patriarch occupying the seat for administrative or reception purposes would sleep in a flanking room, an interpretation that assumes all members of the household were actively engaged in productive labour. This conflicts with Patriarchal Models associated with the "lineage mode of production" (Tilley 1984) which assume that the household patriarch does little manual labour, an interpretation that could also account for the character and quantity of artifacts found in central rooms of Aguateca residences. 36 4. A Culture Historical Model Involving Kings and Priests A more particular and intensive study of function for Maya seats was undertaken by Peter Harrison in his 1971 dissertation on the excavation of the Central Acropolis at Tikal (Figure 11). Harrison excavated this complex from 1964 to 1967 "for the purpose of investigating the functions of the buildings in the acropolis" (1970:15). Because the buildings of the Central Acropolis surrounded several small and private courtyards, Mayanists had suspected that area might have served as a residential compound for the high status members of the city of Tikal. While Harrison records that "Of a total of forty-six surface structures, 104 seats were encountered" (1970:153), these seats were not included on the published plan of this residential complex. I have reworked that plan to include the visible seat locations (Figure 12). Again, the presence of seats was considered diagnostic of a residential function, which would seem to confirm his initial hypothesis that the Central Acropolis served as the palace enclave for Late Classic rulers of Tikal. However, other features associated with residential courtyards were absent from the acropolis during this Late Classic period. Burials were almost non-existent, and meals were prepared outside the complex, on a low platform furnished with six hearths at the edge of the reservoir (Str. 5D-131). Other indications of women's labour, including spindle whorls, were also curiously lacking in the Central Acropolis buildings.17 Only Structure 5D-46, apparently the foundational structure of the complex with an Early Classic core (AD 450-600) and Late Classic additions (AD 17 Ancient representation, ethnohistoric accounts, and ethnographic analyses are all consistent in gendering tasks of textile production, meal preparation, and child-rearing as female among the Maya. 37 600-800) that gave it small, private courtyards, and with burials found in its stairways, was considered to be the residence of a complete family. Harrison thus postulated it as the actual residence of the rulers. Outside of this one structure, the Central Acropolis seemed to be a place for men, and so Harrison hypothesized that various structures, depending on the type of plan, could have served as quarters for priests and for young, unmarried men (1970:263, 278, 279). As part of his thesis, Harrison developed a classification system for permanent masonry seats in the Central Acropolis, which will be discussed in Chapter Two. It is important to note here the discrepancy between his interpretation of different functions for the acropolis buildings with a seat typology that cross-cuts his building typology. He identifies as a "throne" the most important seat in the structure he interprets as the actual royal residence (Structure 5D-46), yet that "throne" is of the same type (an east-facing, centrally placed seat with bolsters on each side) as five others in other buildings of the acropolis, assigned several different functions. His accommodation to this problem was to suggest that priestly residences had "possible reception rooms with throne-seats" (Harrison 1970:278-280). 5. A Culture-Historical Autocratic Model Involving Kings and Thrones Though an accident of survival, one of the most elaborately decorated Maya seats known was found at Piedras Negras (Figure 13), and with Proskouriakoffs 1960 discovery that the stelae there were erected to commemorate the inaugurations of dynastic rulers, it seemed "natural" to refer to the fanciest seat at 38 the site as a "throne". The coincidence of the intricately carved seat and the epigraphic evidence of kingship at Piedras Negras cemented the perception of any similarly distinctive seat as a "throne". Since then, although some authors refer to all interior varieties of such raised platforms, elaborate or not, as "seats", "benches", or "beds", culture historians generally apply terminology of the Autocratic Model and refer to any especially marked seat as a "throne."18 The highly decorated seats erected in the royal residences of Piedras Negras and Palenque, inscribed with hieroglyphic passages detailing inauguration events, do correspond well to the European concept of "throne" (Figures 13, 14). The question, however, is whether other highly decorated seats really fit in the same classification when they are not located in the royal residence and do not bear inscriptions in which the ruler is the major actor. Because the Autocratic Model does not open a space for non-royal seats characterized by fine carving and hieroglyphic inscriptions, the Structure 9N-82 seat has been interpreted by culture historians as an out-of-place royal throne, and therefore as evidence of a significant rupture of an assumed social contract. 6. A Culture Historical Model Involving Supernatural Deities Another expression of the Autocratic Model in the nomenclature and interpretation for Maya seats is Michael Coe's interpretation of such seats on ceramic paintings as thrones. While earlier authors George B. Gordon (1896), and John Longyear (1952) had published compendiums of ceramics excavated at a 1 8 Coe 1973; Scheie and Freidel 1990:365, 370; Miller and Taube 1993:165; Noble-Bardsley 1992a:1; Sharer 1994:376, 394. 39 specific site, Coe was the first Mayanist to publish a volume dedicated to discussion of the painted narratives and hieroglyphic texts of an unprovenanced collection of ancient Maya ceramics (1973).19 Although hieroglyphs on ceramics could not be read at that time, Coe demonstrated the repetitive nature of a text encircling the vessels' upper rim, and suggested that it likely formed a chant recited for the dead on funerary occasions, as the ceramics were positioned around the deceased in his/her burial chamber. Coe suggested that the chant detailed the trials of the mythological Hero Twins, known best from the sixteenth century K'iche Maya manuscript known as the Popol Vuh (Tedlock 1985). Their adventures involved descent into the underworld where they defeated the lords of death. According to Coe, the journey of the entombed deceased could be likened to that of the Hero Twins and was aided by them through recitation of this chant. For Coe, scenes of seated human figures on Maya painted ceramics depicted palaces in the underworld, with the deceased seated on thrones in their supernatural realm (their tomb-as-throne-room), while scenes of seated aged deities represented the enthroned lords of the underworld. Again, the Autocratic Model underpinning Coe's interpretation did not allow for Maya persons of authority other than rulers to be seated on elaborate, decorated, or otherwise hierarchically privileged seats, just as it did not allow for such elaborate painted ceramics to belong to anyone but a ruler. Coe's interpretation has so captured readers of Mayanist discourse that it has been difficult to shake the notion that the painted ceramic vases of the Late Classic period are all "royal". The recent volume published by art historian Dorie Reents-1 9 My use of the term "unprovenanced" refers to objects of uncertain ancient Maya sources, as housed in public and private collections. 40 Budet, (together with Joseph Ball, Virginia Fields, Justin Kerr, and Barbara MacLeod, 1994), features Maya ceramics as media affording meaningful and critical information about dynastic history, economic and political interrelationships, and social structure. According to Reents-Budet, "It is intended as a new introduction to the technical, aesthetic and intellectual achievements of the artists who created this unique pottery and to the many roles played by these vessels during the first millenium AD" (1994:xix). The ceramics illustrated in this volume include dozens of images of figures, engaged in a number of different roles while seated on a great variety of seats. That these seats are variously referred to as both "seats" and "thrones" clearly indicates that Reents-Budet et al. recognize both a lineage-based power structure of ancient Maya society (1994:2), and the multiple roles of material objects within such structures (1994:74-75). Yet adherence to an underlying Autocratic Model is clear: even though fewer than ten percent of the illustrated vessels may be securely associated with known kings, the book is entitled Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period, and the authors employ the word "royal" to describe many of the seated personages. 7. Culture Historical Models Recognizing Too Many Thrones and Too Few Kings Among another group of Mayanist culture-historians, the evidence for non-ruling persons using and being depicted sitting on an elaborate seat is too overwhelming to deny. One of the first Mayanists to question the problematic of there being so many more thrones than there were kings was Kornelia Kurbjuhn. In her 1980 dissertation, Die Seitze der Maya, the only preceding major study of Maya 41 seats, Kurbjuhn provided a general and iconographical overview. Her study highlights the preponderance of decorated seats at major sites and three chapters of her dissertation are given to analyses of these.2 0 Kurbjuhn lists a total of 326 seats, but as only 17 of those are actual seats her study was necessarily restricted to the representations of seats in pictorial media.21 Although the wealth of information about secondary sites and unprovenanced painted ceramic scenes now known to Mayanists was unavailable to her during the time of her study (1976-1980), Kurbjuhn did succeed with her stated plan, to order and unify her data via a structural analysis of traits (1980:40-48). At the 43 r d International Congress of Americanists, Kurbjuhn presented a summary of her dissertation study in which she noted "Persons depicted as seated on a throne cannot be exclusively labeled as 'rulers' at all. Costume and ornaments....point rather to a throne-sitting-situation, than to an exclusive right to sit there for a specific individual or an office holder" (1979). However, I suspect that her limited dataset similarly limited the testing of the premise that non-rulers occupied such seats. An example of rather uncertain ground is evident in Kurbjuhn's use of the term "throne." While she claims that "all the images we have depict persons of high rank," those seats she designates as "thrones" are based not on location or inscription but, instead, on the basis of decorative elaboration (1980:6). Kurbjuhn's use of "throne" to describe these seats, 2 0 I wish to note here my gratitude for the many hours given me by Professor Stephen Taubeneck at the University of British Columbia. Without our lengthy discussions of his translations from German to English, I would not have been able to assess the extent of Kurbjuhn's contributions. 2 1 In an attempt to discern differentiated social rankings of personages depicted on the seats, Kurbjuhn describes their body, leg, and hand positions. Even though she could find no correlation between the type of seat and the type of hand gesture, I do 42 rather than solving her stated problem of there being too many thrones, instead serves to perpetuate the notion that only royals are deserving of elaborate seats. More recently, Mayanists have confronted this problem of multiplicity through interpretation of inscriptions. Several epigraphers continue to work at deciphering the sets of titular and relationship glyphs such as the title sahal 22 which Peter Mathews and John Justeson demonstrated appeared in the names of persons subordinate to rulers at the site of Yaxchilan (1984). David Stuart later corroborated that this title never occurred in the title phrase of rulers of major polities (Stuart 1984). It is important to note here that persons with the rank or title of sahal are shown on elaborate seats in sculptures at Palenque for example, (Tablet of the Slaves, Figure 15), at Lacanja (Panel 1, Figure 16), and at Lax Tunich (Wall Panel 4, Figure 17). The notion that these other titled persons-of-authority for whom decorated seats and hieroglyphic inscriptions might be carved constitute a "second tier" of nobles beneath the "first tier" or ruler, is the subject of the recent thesis by art historian Khristaan Villela which focuses on the secondary sites associated with three major Maya cities: Palenque, Tikal, and Copan (1993a). While Villela allows that rulers of secondary sites are not kings, he does identify the subsidiaries as "royal administrators" (1993a:45), and nobles, thereby articulating the two-class model (elite versus peasant) on which the notion of autocratic kingship is based. agree with Kurbjuhn that hand-gestures may yet prove to have conveyed coded information about status relationships. 2 2 Mathews and Justeson (1984) were first to identify this glyphic compound as a title for a subordinate rank. David Stuart later (1984) deciphered this glyphic compound as cahal meaning "war chieftan". It is presently read as sahal, and interpreted by 43 The sahal denomination is actually one of two known Maya titles granted by rulers and inherited by their unilineal descendants. The second title, presently read ah k'u-hun and interpreted as "keeper of the sacred books," 2 3 is the title recorded for the men who dedicated and presumably occupied not only the Structure-82 carved seat (Figure 2a) but also the seat known as the Harvard Seat of the nearby Group 9M-18 at Copan (Figure 18). 8. Models of Social Organization Involving Factional Groups Based on his study of Copan residential architecture and its sculptural decorations, William Fash carries the notion of a second tier of high-ranking persons a step farther, accusing them of disrupting the social contract and destroying dynastic power. Fash's argument explicitly situates such a process in terms of factional competition, a notion associated most closely with the writing of Elizabeth Brumfiel, as will be explained subsequently (Brumfiel et al. 1994). At this point it may be noted that Brumfiel does not judge factions as positive or negative, but instead argues factional competition is an integral part of the functioning of societies without economic class stratification. In contrast, Fash argues that factional competition was essentially destructive to the Maya system because it disrupted the social contract. His interpretation fits in with many explanations of the Maya "collapse" because it argues for a pathological component of Maya society that destroyed it from within. Such interpretations have long been used either to warn Coe and Stuart (in D. Stuart 1992:181) as "feared one", implying a similar connotation as cahal, "warrior captain". 2 3 See D. Stuart (1992:180-182) for discussion of the decipherment of this titular compound. 44 modern nation-states of a similar cancer within their systems or to reassure them that they are subject to no such evolutionary limitation. 9. Models Involving Historical Narrative Even before Fash published his major work on Copan, he had argued in his dissertation for the destructive or "fungal" nature of Maya "elite" factions. His interpretations were taken up and amplified by Linda Scheie and David Freidel in their compendium of Maya dynastic history called A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya (1990), as mentioned in the Introduction. Scheie and Freidel composed a narrative of Copan's late history centred around the 16 t h ruler, Yax-Pas. In dealing with the Structure-82 Seat, they argue that in allowing the Sepulturas subordinate to have such an elaborate seat, "Yax-Pas thus gave away some of the hard-earned royal charisma of his ancestors to honor the head of this lineage". They ask, "was this the act of a desperate man?", then answer, "in all likelihood the king was fully aware of the potential danger in his capitulation to the nobility but regarded it as a necessary step to save the kingdom from impending economic disaster" (1990:330). While I will later show that such "desperation" and "danger" are not supported by the archaeological or hieroglyphic record, my point here is that Fash's suggestion became fodder for a narrativizing project undertaken by Scheie and Freidel that may massage information to conform to the dramatic structure (and here I am not referring to the vignettes, which by being marked as fiction serve to relationally construct the rest of the narrative as fact). Indeed, the authors note that "the story 45 we construct here is one of drama, pathos, humor, and heroics", which they employ for "unearthing the dynamic actions of real people" (1990:19). However, that these dramatic interpretations have been accepted by Mesoamericanists and other readers as factual, is further evidence of the popularizing tone of Maya scholarship. More Encompassing Models 1. A Model Involving Articulations Between Institutions of Kings and Kin To narrow the gulf between interpretations of Maya seats and particularly the Structure 9N-82 seat as either a "throne" or "throne'-imitation (Autocratic Model), a "bed" (Processual Model), or an "altar" (Culture Historical Model), Cohodas in 1996 proposed that such objects be interpreted within a model that encompasses the articulation of both kin-based institutions and over-arching polity institutions. He argued that objects such as decorated seats that are found in both royal and non-royal residences in both cases correspond to a kinship context. The ruler is positioned as head of the ruling lineage, different in quantity but not quality from other lineage heads like the one who dedicated the Structure 9N-82 seat (Cohodas 1996:621). In previous works I have demonstrated agreement with Cohodas, that kinship and kingship in this respect were the same thing (Noble-Bardsley 1992a). This is also the conclusion reached by Carmack in his study of K'iche lineage and kingship institutions (Carmack 1981). However, Cohodas also defined a separate institutional context for the ruler and the institution of kingship as head of an overarching polity or "body politic", 46 requiring cosmological notions, ritual practices, and representational forms removed from the kinship context. He suggested that the material remains of this institutional context should be comprised of those elements (e.g. stelae, masonry ball courts, radial pyramids) which are typically not found in residential complexes and thus are limited to central public spaces rather than replicated throughout the site (Cohodas 1996:621-23). Cohodas suggests that because of these distinct and articulating institutions, not only the ruler but also other important leaders would fulfill dual roles as both heads of their lineages and officers within a polity administration. Applying archaeologists Colin Renfrew's and John Cherry's notions of Peer Polity Interaction and Socio-Political Change (1986), Cohodas identifies another level of relationship among non-royal lineage heads competing for positions in the polity administration for which the ruler served as gatekeeper (Cohodas 1996:619, 623). Cohodas and I have both argued that whereas the context of the focal seat in Structure 9N-82 constructs the patriarch's status within his own lineage, the elaborate sculpture of the seat constructs his membership and negotiates his status within a peer group of wealthy or powerful lineage heads (Cohodas 1996:619; Noble-Bardsley 1996a, 1998). In consideration of the interactive roles of residential and royal lineage heads, I have applied anthropologist Gina Barnes' model of In-Group and Out-Group Articulations (1986) which may operate at any level of social organization. She demonstrates how a particular object, such as a seat in the Maya case, functions as a boundary marker, signaling simultaneously both inclusion and exclusion. With this model the Structure-82 Seat articulates both the exclusion of the other patriarchs of 47 the Sepulturas area whose lineages do not occupy the dominating structure of the community, and simultaneously, the inclusion of the Sepulturas patriarch, by virtue of his lineage house seat that unites him with other patriarchs in other suburban communities, and with the primary patriarch, Copan's head-of-state. 2. A Model Involving Constructive Factional Competition While Cohodas discussed peer competition only in terms of dominant lineage heads, and explained the contributions of labour and surplus of subordinate lineage members as arising solely from coercion, anthropologist Elizabeth Brumfiel offers a more nuanced view in the presentation of her model of "Factional Competition" (Brumfiel 1994). She describes factions as "structurally and functionally similar groups which, by virtue of their similarity, compete for resources and positions of power or prestige" (1994:4). Brumfiel notes that factional competition is guided and publicly enacted by the faction leaders who "tend to come from the "dominant" sectors of society, since it is these individuals who have the resources needed to recruit large followings. Coming from the same privileged sector of society, faction leaders are likely to share similar political goals, and these goals are not likely to challenge the basic structure of that society" (1994:4). The fact that the competition is carried out through practices shared and agreed upon by competing dominant faction members, and therefore that they share forms of representation and other status trappings, has misled many Mayanists into proposing a separate elite class. However, Brumfiel clarifies the important distinction between factional competition and class conflict: 48 Under conditions of class struggle, society is divided by horizontal cleavages that separate internally solidary and externally competing strata. This contrasts with a situation of factional competition in which society is divided by vertical cleavages that unite members of different strata and foster conflict between members of the same strata (1994:8). These vertical cleavages and hierarchic internal structures of factions are clearly evident in the residential compounds excavated at Copan. For example, burials in the Sepulturas complex occupy every level of labour investment from depositing bodies in the trash to building formal stone tombs with corbel vaults and niches for tomb furnishings. Brumfiel discusses the reasons for faction leaders' investments in architectural or sculptural monuments as an important form of factional competition, as "efforts to impress a regional audience of potential allies and rivals who use the size of the building projects to judge the size and commitment of one's following." (1994:11). In the same volume John Clark and Michael Blake explain further that such "vying for prestige is the equivalent of competing for people or their labour power and support" (Clark and Blake 1994:18). One important issue raised by these discussions of faction leaders competing for subordinates' allegiance is that it recognizes agency and agenda at all levels of the social formation: "followers align themselves with the leader who supplies them with the greatest immediate benefits" (Brumfiel 1994:9). Brumfiel's analysis of societies composed of structurally similar factions opens the theoretical discourse on ancient societies to notions of multiple interest groups. Although she deals primarily with competitive relations between such 49 factions, they also have the potential for cooperation, either on all levels or in some cases only on the dominant level. The sharing of ideologies and information made possible by these forms of interaction accords with archaeologist Carole Crumley's insistence that societies involve not only relationships and processes that are hierarchic but also those that are heterarchic, sharing information and other resources for common benefit (Crumley 1987:158). As discussed previously, Fash's hypothesis of a direct relationship between the erection of the Structure 9N-82 seat and the collapse of Copan's dynastic power represents a particular view of factional competition as destructive rather than constructive of an ordered and long-standing social formation. Fash supposes that factional competition in Copan society was the primary cause of its downfall, "lineage and political factionalism prevented unifications" (1991:178). By contrast, Brumfiel points out alternative ways to understand factional competition: "It may be viewed either as an obstruction or an impetus to social change" (1994:4). She argues that while the objective of factional competition is to achieve a favourable allocation of existing benefits, "the similarity of the participants insures that they will hold similar ideas about what the world is like and what it should be like", thus limiting the revolutionary lengths to which they would go (Brumfiel 1994:4). Anthropologists Bruce Byland and John Pohl have posited a similar view of the potentially positive effects of factions. They argue that while factionalism is often conceived of as a temporary, destabilizing force, the Mixtec codices of western Mesoamerica record instead a long-term history of stable factional interactions (Byland and Pohl 1994). As will be shown, none of the three sculptured seats in 50 Copan's non-royal residences records events of political accession or rituals celebrating a competitively elevated status for the local patriarchs. Instead, texts carved on seats in the suburbs of Copan emphasize the "dedication" of the seats' structures, and carefully include the honorific of sociopolitical allegiance to the polity ruler.24 Conclusion Previous interpretations of Maya seats in general, and the Copan decorated seats in particular, arise from the models of Maya society within which they are inserted. The most problematic for me are those models that posit a distinct elite class and that, in searching for some pathological element in Maya society to account for the collapse of dynastic power in the ninth century AD, choose factional competition as the explanation. In contrast to these, Brumfiel's model of competing, vertically hierarchic and structurally similar factions as a potentially long-standing and essential part of the social formation carries greater promise of explaining the form and contexts of these Maya seats. In subsequent chapters, the seats will be analyzed through several different methods. It will be shown in each case that a model of Factional Competition offers the most workable explanation for the available data, providing a strong argument that Mayanists need to re-think their models of ancient Maya society along these lines. Before moving on to these other topics, however, I would like to comment on one element of the Factional Model that has also been touched on elsewhere 2 4 I have previously addressed the significance of dedicatory ceremony, particularly the implications of having dedicated one's Seat-of-Authority (Noble-Bardsley 1998). 51 (Cohodas 1996). The factions involved in competitive relations at Copan and other Maya sites are organized through a patriarchally based hierarchy that also privileges patrilineal descent and its usual concomitant, primogeniture. While McAnany demonstrates that elaborate tomb construction in such residences is designed in part to legitimate (patrilineal) inheritance not only of the land and structures of the building compounds but also of other, outlying resource lands, I suggest that similarly elaborate constructions for the living serve the same function of maintaining patriarchal lines of descent through hierarchic relations. This thesis will also show that the hierarchical privilege of the Structure-82 Seat in relation to others in the Sepulturas residential group, established by its context (central room of major structure) and form (elaborate figural and hieroglyphic decoration), legitimates the patriarchal institution through sacralizing of the elder male who occupies this seat. 52 CHAPTER TWO: The Dataset of Maya Seats The purpose of compiling a dataset of Maya seats was to allow for comparative analysis that would permit both the definition of norms and distinctions between variants (regional, temporal, and individual). I could then apply this information to the question of whether a model of Factional Competition could be supported by the dataset of Maya seats, and whether that factionalism could be shown to be constitutive or destructive of Classic Maya social organization. Problematic Nomenclatures Before presenting or analyzing the dataset, the terminology used herein and elsewhere requires explanation. Issues of nomenclature are part of every study, and due to the multiplicity of one-dimensional social models that have been applied to Classic Maya society, the variations in the literature on seats are particularly problematic. There exists a huge variety of objects displayed in ancient Maya environments in general use as seats, but which are commonly referred to in contemporary publications by a number of functionally specific terms: bench, stool, palanquin, litter, platform, throne, table, couch, altar, dais, slab, or bed. Words frame our perceptions of the past and by using contemporary terms as labels for ancient objects we imply a contemporary notion of their use (Tilley 1993:421). Understandably, for ease of reference, contemporary authors often continue to employ original designations. However, even when different terms are employed, 53 they are likewise functionally specific, and have often been used interchangeably, but inappropriately. One problem concerning the Mayanist literature on seats is that nomenclature employed in contemporary studies tends to be far too specific, and too semantically loaded, often creating an unsubstantiated division of ancient Maya functions of "sacred" versus "secular." For example, objects labeled as "altars" and obviously understood thereby as having served a role in religious ritual, are often squared or rounded forms and tend to be relatively smaller than more elongated rectangular versions labeled as "benches" and "thrones." Yet this distinction is inconsistently applied, as many authors refer to the more elongated table-like stone slabs supported on pillars as "sacrificial altars."25 Even in a single publication such an object may be referred to in one sentence as "a table," yet in subsequent pages that same object becomes "a sacrificial altar." Also problematic is that prior to the 1970s (and even to the present at some sites) most investigations did not fully excavate individual structures, thereby encouraging similar misidentifications. As noted by Marshall Becker (1979:10) one of the earliest and most cited publications about Maya material culture describes a supposed freestanding "altar" which, following later excavation proved to be an architecturally fixed "bench." As a result of this informal and inaccurate nomenclature, several different types of seats or representations of seats have been grouped under the same term. At Palenque the double-headed jaguar seat carved in a wall panel (Figure 14), an actual slab-and-support seat positioned beneath that wall panel (also illustrated in 2 5 See Teobert Maler (1901:54), Lynton Satterthwaite (1954), Scheie and Freidel (1990:311) for examples. 54 Figure 14), and a carved representation of a small piscine-cushion (as seen in Figure 19, a drawing of the "Palace Tablet") are all described as "thrones" (Scheie and Miller 1986:114). However, another slab-and-support seat at Palenque, of very-similar size, type, and variety of decorative carving as one of the aforementioned "thrones" is instead referred to as a "bench" (compare Figures 14, 19, and 20). This discrepancy is especially interesting since both seats include inscriptions confirming their use by sacred ahaws or "kings" of the site. Why aren't they both referred to as "thrones"? Why aren't they both referred to as "benches"? I would argue that the contrast between processual and culture-historical approaches has led to this simultaneous naming of these seats as "benches" or "beds" on the one hand, and "thrones" on the other. For example, as previously noted, while David Webster describes the Structure-82 Seat as a "hieroglyphic bench" (1989:30), by contrast, William Fash describes that same seat as "an exquisite hieroglyphic bench (or throne)..." (1991:62). In my own previous work for example (Noble-Bardsley 1987, 1990, 1992a) I have also inaccurately referred to some seats as "thrones", as have many other Mayanists 2 6 Such inaccuracy has often led to a multiplicity of terms employed to describe the same seat or type of seat. What is published in one volume as a "dais", (Morris, Chariot, and Morris 1931:71) may be referred to elsewhere as a "bench" (A. L. Smith 1962:37) and in yet another publication as a "throne." While Morris et al. termed such a seat from the Northwest Colonnade at Chichen Itza, (Figure 21a) an "altar" (1931:37), Scheie and Freidel refer to it as a "throne" (1990:365), whereas the 2 6 E. g.: M. Coe 1992; Scheie and Miller 1986; W. Fash 1991; Houston 1993; Kaplan 1995; Villela 1993b. 55 similar seat from the Mercado at the same site (Figure 21b) is described by Freidel, Scheie, and Parker (1993:159) as "a bench in a palatial residence". Increasingly, the popularity of the Culture-Historical Model has led to preponderant use of the term "throne." For example, in The Blood of Kings, the first of several contemporary volumes to address issues of ancient Maya social and political ritual, Scheie and Miller frequently refer to representations of seats, but in most cases the text discusses "thrones". The index even more clearly discloses an Autocratic Model as framework: the reader seeking information about seats is advised to "see Thrones" (Scheie and Miller 1986:331). Similarly, the index to Robert Sharer's more recent volume, The Ancient Maya, does not include a listing for either "Benches" or "Seats". Instead, information about such furnishings is listed only under "Thrones" (1994:887). In this thesis I aim to avoid the terms derived from particularly one-dimensional models of Maya society such as "bench" or "throne" in favour of a single term: "seat." I use the term "seat" deliberately and generally to denote a place capable, among other functions, of supporting a person in a sitting position. This is the position in which persons are depicted on sculptural and painted narratives, and particularly in those representations known hieroglyphically to be scenes of office taking and office-holders. In comparison, ancient and modern Maya languages included several words that, because they all conveyed a meaning of seat or seating, could sometimes be used interchangeably. These include: 56 1. kuch, which translates generally as "seat," "container," "to carry," "a container for carrying something in" or "a burden" (MacLeod et al. 1993). 2. kun, which translates as "seat," "seating place," or "conjuring place" (Barbara MacLeod 1992: personal communication; Scheie 1994b). 3. tz'am, which translates as "special seat" or "throne" (MacLeod, in Scheie and Looper 1996:156). 4. chum (or plural, chum-ib), which translates as "seat" or "to sit" (Scheie and Freidel 1990:491). 5. po(p), which translates as "woven-mat" and/or "woven-cushion-seat" (de Landa in Tozzer 1941:105).27 Additional examples of Maya words stemming from these roots are listed in Table 2 where I also illustrate some glyphic forms of these root words. The Distribution of Seats and Some Distortion of Statistics Tables 3 and 4 list and compile the actual seats from Maya buildings used in these comparative discussions: what I refer to as the "dataset." Sources for this compilation include: 2 7 While tz'am is a Yucatec Maya word, kun and chum are Ch'olan root words. Po, pop, and kuch are common to both languages (Tozzer 1941). Millions of contemporary Maya speak languages that descend from the two languages known from ancient Maya hieroglyphic texts: Yucatecan, spoken by people living in the Northern Lowlands or Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and Belize; and Ch'olan, spoken in the Southern Lowland areas of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. As Scheie and Freidel point out, the area between these two regions was probably occupied by both groups, who were, and are, bilingual (1990:50-51). 57 1. Excavation reports with descriptions of seats uncovered and in some cases with their locations indicated on building plans (see Appendix 1). 2. Information provided by other Mayanists who were aware of my interest in this project and who kindly supplied unpublished data as it became available, including images and references from Prufer and Dunham (1993: personal communication), from Sharer (1996, 1997, personal communication), and from Kaplan (1995).. 3. Personal examination of seats at several of the major Maya sites including: sites in the Copan Valley and the nearby site of Quirigua (1990, 1993), Palenque and the nearby site of Tonina (1989, 1990, 1993), Tikal (1981, 1983, 1993), Yaxchilan (1989), Chichen Itza and other Yucatec sites (1981, 1983, 1993). The first conclusion evident from this compilation and illustrated in summary form in Table 3 is the wide spatial and temporal distribution of seats in the Maya area. On the map of the Maya area (Figure 10) dark curves approximate the geographic distinction between the Northern Lowlands (Yucatan peninsula, Mexico), the Southern Lowlands (rain-forested parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras), and the Highland zone (including Western El Salvador, southern Guatemala, and Mexico). The eighty-three sites in these three regions from which I have collected data are included on the map and listed in Table 3 2 8 Comparing the 2 8 Although I intended to collect all evidence of every known Maya seat remaining in situ, I soon realized that to do so was quite impossible to accomplish within the allowable period of time for this study. While I learn of additional seats almost daily, I ceased to add them to my dataset after January 1998. 58 map and the tables reveals that seats were common in all three geographic regions. Table 1 further demonstrates that seats were common in all phases of ancient Maya society: the Pre-Classic, Early Classic, Late Classic, and Post-Classic Phases. In fact, so pervasive are these seats throughout the temporal and geographic spread of ancient Maya society that they may be considered characteristic of ancient Maya residential architecture. While these tables demonstrate the wide spatial and temporal distribution of seats, they also show certain peaks of popularity, notably in the Highlands during the Pre-Classic (1500 BC - AD 200), the Southern Lowlands during the Classic (AD 200-800), and the Northern Lowlands during the Terminal Classic and Post-Classic phases (AD 800-1535). These peaks are closely related to peaks of population expansion in each of these areas. The fact that the largest number of recorded seats are from the Southern Lowlands in the Late Classic period is largely explained by such a population peak, but other factors also enter into these statistics. Late Classic residential architecture is frequently built over earlier structures and these are very infrequently excavated. Hence buried seats may underlie these Late Classic dwellings. Also, the Southern Lowlands sites, characterized by the most monumental architecture and the most elaborate portable objects of value, have consequently been subject to much more intensive archaeological investigation. This statistical distortion is even more evident from the fact that the numbers of seats recorded for individual Southern Lowland sites is largely proportional to the number and intensity of excavations undertaken. For example, Tikal and Copan are two sites having undergone large-scale excavations, whereas the equally large site 59 of Palenque has yet to be well explored even within its central core. This situation is reflected in Table 3 with the relatively high numbers of seats recorded for Tikal and Copan versus Palenque. Even within sites, the largest and highest mounds of any site were usually the first to be explored and unearthed, because it was generally assumed they are more likely to contain material "treasures"2 9 Furthermore, it was often the case, until the 1960s, that smaller and lower remains were never investigated at all. Such choices of where and how to explore, like those of how and what to seek, have enormous impact on material datasets and hence the conclusions of our studies. Several other variables distort the sample sets and resulting statistics. Such variables, including those already mentioned, may be discussed in terms of three problematics or categories of variables distinguished by Gair Tourtellot (1988a:37) as the dependent, independent, and intervening variables. The dependent variables involve contemporary decisions of what and how to excavate and classify. In addition to the preference for excavating large, Late Classic Southern Lowland mounds, several other contemporary decisions influence the dataset. To greater or lesser degrees depending on the project and the era in which it was carried out, certain kinds of data were excluded from the research purview. For example, the frequent mentions of discarded broken stones might have added significantly to the present corpus of ancient Maya seats, and could thus alter our impressions of what is "rare" and what is "common". 2 9 My use of the term "treasures" includes ancient material goods currently perceived by academics and general populations alike as economically, aesthetically, and/or historically valuable, such as: mural painted walls, materials carved with hieroglyphs and/or figural images, articles of jewelry, and utensils for domestic and ritual use. 60 When seats are found, they tend to be under-recorded, especially if no decorations survive. Archaeologists Karl Ruppert's and John Denison's wide-ranging survey of the border area between Northern and Southern Lowlands sought information on architectural plans and decorations but not furnishings. Their lament that "the inability to obtain data is as disheartening as the city is exceptional" is preceded by the statement that "A simple bench was found across the end of a structure" (1943:9). The reader can only conclude that the "bench" did not classify as "data." A decade later, another archaeologist, A. L. Smith recorded for the site of Uaxactun that "Benches are quite common", but he neither discusses their component parts nor includes them in his structure plans (1955:72-77). Similarly, as previously noted, despite intensively analyzing the configuration of more than a hundred seats excavated in the Central Acropolis at Tikal, Harrison did not include these on his plan (Figure 11). Tourtellot's category of independent variables pertains to ancient decisions of what to construct and where to place it. All of the recorded seats are the results of such decisions, but so are some of the absences. As mentioned above, some earlier buildings with seats remain hidden under later constructions. Another example of the independent variable would be the replacement, modification, or removal of seats. For example, permanent masonry seats excavated in Early Classic structures on the North and Central Acropolises at Tikal contained seats that were added to the structures in the Late Classic. Concerning those in the Central Acropolis, Harrison proposes that while the residential structures of his study likely once housed wooden seats/benches/beds in earlier times, there seems to have 61 been a shift to built-in masonry styles circa AD 650 (Harrison 1970:137, 170, 1996: personal communication). Harrison's suggestion that the earlier buildings contained seats of perishable materials may be equally valid for counts of actual seats at other sites, and, as will be shown in the next chapter, is clearly supported by the frequency and variety of perishable seats painted on ceramics. Tourtellot's third category of intervening variables concerns subsequent acts of humans or nature that have affected survival of objects. Seats in perishable materials including wood, cloth, and animal pelts, all abundant in figural representations, quickly decay in this tropical environment and are thus eliminated from the dataset of actual seats. Haviland (1968:99) notes that, "most people's house furnishings are (and presumably were) of wood, thus are lost to us archaeologically, whereas non-perishable items of stone, ceramic, shell, even bone, survive much better." These and other implications of absent wooden seats are fully supported in representational media and are confirmed by the recent discovery of a well preserved'wooden seat and stool in Belize (Prufer and Dunham 1997). The carved decorations on these Belizean seats give some indication of their elaboration, especially by comparison with extant wood carvings such as the carved lintels at Tikal, and by comparison with representations of seats on these lintels as well as on ceramics. From these representations it appears likely that wooden seats in particular were subject to exceptional decorative elaboration and were also, in some cases, enormous. The absence of such wooden seats from the preserved record would seriously affect the degree to which an elaborately carved seat like that in Structure 9N-82 is seen to represent an aberration. 62 A similar problematic applies to fugitive decorations on stone seats. Several passages encountered while reading excavation reports support my suspicion that many actual seats, which now appear undecorated, were once richly embellished with stucco and painted iconographic detail, now lost. In his accounting of the positioning and the form of a seat at Chichen Itza, Ruppert (1952:71) merely mentions that a seat-back was "painted with black, red, and blue," and the seat itself had "red and blue painted designs." At the site of Piedras Negras, Maler too refers to "distinct traces of red colour" but does not specify the placement of the colour (1901:66). Stone masonry and slab seats, while generally durable, have often been dislodged or broken by the collapse of the buildings that house them. Furthermore, for centuries these dressed stones have been utilized as recycled construction material. In his preliminary report, archaeologist George Gordon explained that one purpose of his explorations at Copan was "to preserve the ruins from the injuries to which they have been subjected. The chief source of these injuries is in the indifference of the natives who do not hesitate to break up a structure or monument to get material for their fences and houses" (Gordon 1896:8). Such reuse predates the Spanish conquest. At Chichen Itza for example, a large number of structures incorporate slabs and masonry blocks from earlier buried or dismantled structures. In his report of excavations in the Yucatan, Ruppert (1952:1) generalizes that "The late period is thought to include some of the simple, crude, jerry-built structures, which often have sculptured reused stones in their construction." But such reuse did not apply only to jerry-built structures. The large multi-slab seat supported by 63 Atlantean statues in The Temple of the Warriors at Chichen Itza was interpreted by its excavators as having been removed from the buried Temple of the Chac Mool discovered directly underneath it (Morris, Chariot, and Morris 1931). Material, Context, Construction and Decoration Since typologies emphasize similarities and differences, they facilitate comparisons and enable temporal and spatial assignments. They can also elucidate a wide range of relationships between particular objects and groups of objects. But, as ceramic specialist Joseph Ball reminds us, a typology must be rigorously formulated and meticulously employed to be an effective tool (1994:362). Absence of a "rigorous" typology of ancient Maya furnishings has resulted in the unsystematic assignment of semantically loaded terms, with accompanying implications of relative distribution, function, status, and relationship that often bear little resemblance to historical or formal data. As Ball notes, "in a process [of reckless categorizations], not only is much genuine information submerged but spurious 'data' are also created" (Ball 1994:363). It is because this dataset of seats is clearly skewed in a number of ways, that a more comprehensive system of organizing the sample is an absolute necessity. My solution to this problem is to propose a typology based on materials and construction techniques. Because the purposes of this thesis do not warrant a fine-grained typology, I have instead chosen to divide the corpus into only four general categories: stone masonry, stone slab, portable stone, and perishable materials. My categorizations do not attempt to replicate any system for classifying seats used by 64 the Ancient Maya who built, carved, or used them. These categories are heuristic divisions employed only as an organizational device for the comparative purposes of this study. 1. Stone Masonry Due to the variables of destruction and relocation discussed above, it is to be expected that most of the extant seats (75%) are those formed of stone masonry. These are at times located in exterior positions associated with particular buildings, but much more frequently are found in interior rooms where they are almost invariably attached structurally to at least one wall. Harrison's excavation of the Central Acropolis at Tikal (Figures 11, 12) produced so large a sample that he was able to construct a typology of form and placement, using as variables the shape of the seat, the number of walls to which it was attached, and the presence or absence of "bolsters" or arm and back rests (1970:152-68). While Harrison's typology refers specifically to stone masonry seats at Tikal, these criteria are also applicable at other sites. Common arrangements at Tikal and elsewhere include: seats centred or stretched along the back wall; seats occupying side walls; U-shaped seats that link side and back walls; L-shaped seats that link one side wall with the back wall, the latter more typical of corner rooms (Figure 22). Niches in the masonry at the front of the seat occur at Tikal, but tend to be more common elsewhere, as at Copan. In figural representations, ceramic vessels are shown in such niches, a placement confirmed in the excavations of seats at Ceren, El Salvador (Sheets 1992), and Aguateca, Guatemala (Inomata 1997). 65 2. Stone Slab with Supports Fewer than twenty percent of the dataset is of the detachable stone or slab type requiring legs for support (Figure 23). Frequently these seats are supported by four or more legs, often at or near the four corners. In some examples, however, the rear portion of the slab is supported by wall masonry and only the front requires independent support, as with Piedras Negras Throne 1 (Figure 13). In addition to the most common rectangular-slab seats, square and round examples also occur. On ceramic vase painting, such slab seats are frequently embellished with cantilevered sides, a detail difficult to achieve in monolithic form and thus not observable in the dataset of non-perishable, and hence surviving, actual seats (Figures 24, 25). 3 0 Numerous slabs lying leg-less on the ground are generally referred to as "altars."31 However, Jonathan Kaplan redefines such objects from the Pre-Classic period in the Guatemalan Highlands (1995:185-186), and demonstrates that many of what were considered flat "altar"-slabs, once included carved legs which are no longer extant. I argue that several of the carved slabs at Copan were originally elevated on the circular, rectilinear, or trapezoidal stones which were often found reused in Colonial times. Copan "Altar Q" is another example of a seat with circular supports, as are the circular supports of burial seats found frequently during excavations in the Copan Valley. My proposal that the supports for these detached "seats" are merely missing, is now justified hieroglyphically with texts carved on at 3 0 See also Kerr photographs: K511, K7183, K8075. 66 least two of these leg-less "altars" at Copan which, in part, record the dedication of "seats."3 2 It is also not uncommon to read excavation reports that describe "stone drums" or "little pillars" encountered as the supports beneath stone slabs (Satterthwaite 1936:13). When these "little pillars" are found by themselves on the floors of buildings, they are seemingly not recognized as possibly having served as supports beneath slabs. By contrast, these are also usually labeled as "altars." The description of one of these stone-drum altars records it as "25 cm. diameter and 17cm. high." The facts of its small-scale together with its description as having been painted only on its sides, 3 3 are strongly suggestive that it was once covered by something else, perhaps a flat stone slab similar to a pedestal seat recently encountered in the ruins of a residential area of Copan. 3 4 3. Portable Stone: Stools, Drum Shapes, and Zoomorphs The category of Portable Stone Seats involves slab, drum, stool, and zoomorphic shapes small enough to be readily moved by (Figure 26). Several excavators of Maya sites have encountered small rectangles and squares of stone that they believe to have been previously located elsewhere, based on scuffed 31 As demonstrated by James Porter (1994:11-17), one such seat at Palenque has long been known as the "Tablet" of the 96 Glyphs. 3 2 Dedicatory phrases on Copan "Altars" H and I incorporate both the T79 dedicatory glyph and a verbal compound ts'ik, that translates as "to set up, as on a pedestal", or as I argue, to set up on its, now-missing, supports. It should be noted that these probable seat-slabs are carved on only three sides, likely to allow the fourth side to be positioned against a wall. Also, as Morley first noticed (1920), "Altar" G" at Copan, like those Pre-Classic examples realized by Kaplan (1995), consists of a seat and four legs carved from a single piece of stone. 3 3 "It had remains of red paint on the sides, extending from the top to just above floor level" (Satterthwaite 1944:4). 67 stucco floors, "drag-trails", exposed versus non-exposed surfaces etc. As with the detached stone "altars" discussed above, many smaller leg-less slabs likewise once served as seats. 3 5 Three-dimensional zoomorphic seats are found at several sites but are particularly prevalent at Copan in serpent form (the "G-Group altars"), and at Chichen Itza in jaguar form (those in the Castillo-Sub and Lower Temple of the Jaguars as well as others later relocated). 4. Perishable Materials. The type designation of Perishable Seats includes many fragments of now deteriorated examples, but only a very few actual seats (examples are illustrated in Figure 27). The sparse remains of perishable seats include bits of jaguar pelt, textile, and wood construction. Recently though, two carved wooden seats were found almost intact, cached and preserved in a humid, open-ended mountain cave in Belize (Figure 28) 3 6 Perhaps the most critical evidence for the importance of now perished seats comes from recent excavations in Joya de Ceren in El Salvador. This site was sealed by volcanic ash following the eruption of Laguna Caldera, circa AD 600 (Sheets 1992). Investigation of this preserved Classic-era Maya style 341 refer here to the so-called "Altar of Structure 30", excavated during 1990 in the "Cemetario" Group at Copan, Honduras. 3 5 Here, I refer to the small "altars" at innumerable sites: Altars X and Y (Baudez 1994:122-124), Altar F" and the Altar of 22A (Fash 1991:163) at Copan exemplify the type. 3 6 Keith Prufer and Peter Dunham (1997:26) note that the wooden seat, which they call a "bench", is carved of a single piece of rosewood, two metres long. The smaller seat, which they call a "stool", measures 35 cm. X 17cm. X 8cm. high, having three legs that taper at the bottom. The authors note that a fourth leg is missing though the location where it broke from the rest of the seat is evident. Laboratory testing of this seat tentatively identifies the wood as Faaceae, Dalbergia sp.,cubilquitzensis; also known as Grandillo Rosewood. 68 architecture has provided a dataset considerably more comprehensive than anywhere else. While buildings considered domiciles and possibly meeting houses were furnished with adobe seats, the excavations also revealed many wooden tables, shelves, and portable supports.37 Fragments of plaited reed mats are also sometimes discernible in burials, as are the remnants of palanquin litters and wooden platforms on which the corpse may have been carried into the tomb. Examples include Burials 116 and 195 at Tikal and Tomb B-l at Kaminaljuyu (Figures 29, 30). In the latter example, the edging of shell tinklers commonly represented in sculptural images of litters have been recovered through excavation. Other forms of Perishable Seats, known primarily from painted representations (see next chapter), are: seats of lashed poles, litters of woven matting and/or lashed poles, seats of wooden planks, lashed bones, 3 8 embroidered textile, or painted hide cushions, and, most commonly, jaguar pelt-covered cushions. Maya representations of cushions depict them as tight coverings containing bulging, puffy stuffing, possibly of kapok (Figure 31, for example) 3 9 3 7 See Sheets (1990:76). Evidence for a large wooden table is the four postholes covered with slats of carbonized wood. Additionally, "...it was also notable that the majority of the artifacts had been stored above the level of the floor; in containers suspended from wooden roof beams or on the beams themselves, or on shelves and tables..." (Sheets 1990:86). 3 8 It should be noted that depictions of seats composed of lashed long-bones may be metaphorical, and possibly allude to sacrificial rites presided over by the "owner" of the seat. Equally plausible is that the lashed bones may allude to the sub-seat caches of ancestral bones, often located beneath actual Seats-of-Authority. 3 9 The Ceiba tree, which the Maya refer to as "sacred" or "special", is a contemporary source of kapok, the puffy filling used to construct winter jackets and sleeping bags. I suspect the ancient Maya harvested Ceiba-pods to stuff their cushions. 69 Differentiation of Seats versus Seats-of-Authority Before I can draw conclusions from comparison of these different types of seats in terms of their spatial and temporal manifestation, it will be necessary to point out one aspect of these seats which, although it appears to have been a focus of ancient Maya attention, has not been dealt with sufficiently in the Mayanist literature. As discussed above, several examples of the preserved stone seats have been variously termed "benches," "altars" and "thrones," while others may be called "benches" or "altars," but never "thrones." These informal denominations respond to a hierarchic differentiation produced by the ancient Maya but never carefully analyzed in the Mayanist discourse. Harrison suggested that one seat in Tikal's Structure 5D-46, which he considered to be a royal residence, would qualify as a throne. Indeed its placement in the central room of the east facade, at the centre of the back wall, with bolsters on each side enhancing both its complexity and its symmetry, do reveal its hierarchical privilege, just as with the central Structure 9N-82 seat at Copan. But Harrison also found five other identical seats in the Central Acropolis, all but one axially aligned with the building, and all but one facing east.4 0 Yet his reconstruction of different functions for these structures (priests' quarters, young men's house, etc.) precluded calling them all "thrones," as did the necessary relationship between this nomenclature and the Autocratic Model. Applying a Factional Model instead resolves the ambiguity, suggesting that the patriarchal head of a different faction could have occupied each of these privileged seats. This would 4 0 The other structures with back-central, double-bolster seats in the Central Acropolis are 5E-49, 5D-54, 5D-61, 5D-63, 5D-65, and 5D-118. All but those in 5D-61 face east. Those particularly marked as axial and central, outside of 5D-46, are in 5D-49, 5D-54, and 5D-118 (see plan in Figure 12). 70 have important implications concerning social relations among residents of a Maya "palace". The privileged status of such seats is only understandable through relational analysis, by comparison with other seats in the same residential complex. In Tikal's Central Acropolis, less privileged seat types include L-shaped seats in corner rooms, single-level or double-level seats occupying the ends of narrow rooms, and seats centred against the back wall of non-central rooms and lacking the side bolsters. The 9N-8 Group at Copan provides another example of the hierarchic distinctions that privilege a specific seat. Within the linked Plazas A and E which appear to form a single functional unit, the lowest hierarchic level (in terms of labour investment, at least) would correspond to seats in structures with perishable roofs, as with most of the Plaza E structures, all of which also lack axial, symmetrical plans (see plans, Figures 6, 7). The second level might include stone vaulted structures with asymmetric plans and thus asymmetrically arranged seats, including the most elaborate structure of Plaza E (Structure 9N-97) and all but the main structure of Plaza A (Structure 9N-82). At a still higher level would be Structure 9N-82, which occupies the axial focus of Plaza A and is symmetrically planned. Hierarchy exists within this structure as well, with L-shaped seats in the two flanking rooms versus the symmetrical seat with bolsters in the central room. The latter seat, in the position of highest privilege, is the carved seat that provides the focus for this thesis. On the basis of this relational analysis, I propose that such seats which are privileged as at the apex of the hierarchy within a particular residential group, as the focus of an axial and symmetrical plan, be referred to as "Seats-of-Authority." 71 In order to understand the relationship between such seats and the hierarchical organization of residential factions, it is necessary to review previous interpretations of relationships between Maya residences and social structure. This discussion is not designed to fully pursue this question but instead to demonstrate important earlier contributions that have aided in the formulation of the interpretation presented in this thesis. The method which has generally been used to link architecture with social structure is the functional differentiation of buildings in a residential complex. Marshall Becker took the first significant step in this formulation in his 1971 dissertation based on excavations in small residential groups at Tikal. The groups he excavated followed a similar plaza-oriented or plazuela plan, which he termed "Plaza Plan 2," as exemplified by Group 5G-1, illustrated in Figure 32. From architectural and other remains he was able to distinguish two functional forms among the various structures. Becker demonstrated that one structure, generally occupying the east side of the patio, was set off by its greater height, simpler room plan, lack of seats, and presence of burials - particularly an elaborate founding burial above which the initial building was constructed. He determined that this structure was ritual rather than residential in function because of both the presence of burials and the absence of seats. The other stone structures around the patio were lower, lacked burials, and were generously provisioned with seats, all suggesting residential functions (Becker 1971:178-86). Gair Tourtellot applied Becker's Plaza Plan 2 Model to smaller residential groups at Seibal (1983). But here, the founding burials were often under residences, 72 and particularly the largest, most central, and most frequently rebuilt residence of a group, referred to as the dominant residence. Thus Tourtellot made functional distinctions not only between shrine and residential structures, but also among the residential buildings themselves. He noted as well that such dominant residences were generally the earliest of a group, with the longest and most intense history of reconstruction. To explain this feature, he applied a Developmental Cycle Model, arguing that the dominant structure would be occupied by a sequence of lineage heads, succeeding when possible by primogeniture, in order to equate rank with closeness in descent to the founding ancestor. The higher rank allowed them to control more labour and resources, and thus to invest more in building construction. As the kin group expanded, subsidiary residential courts would be built, still allied with the founding group (1983:49-50). That is, while the larger dominant structure is usually the earliest construction, it is also the structure that is most frequently renovated, and often contains slightly more and finer artifacts. Furthermore, Tourtellot found that the dominant structure of each plaza group is often associated with an elaborate burial that is considered to belong to the founder of the lineage. As previously discussed, excavations in the 9N-8 Group at Copan strongly support Tourtellot's model and identify Structure 9N-82 as the dominant residential building of this group. Several archaeologists working on the Copan project and writing dissertations and other monographs on the 9N-8 or Sepulturas Group could not help but recognize the applicability of Tourtellot's differentiation of dominant from secondary residential structures, given the obvious apical position of Structure 9N-82, flanked 73 by secondary residences and facing a ritual structure or shrine. The most intensive and productive of such analyses was that of Julia Hendon, who described the hierarchic privilege of the dominant structure in terms of the superior construction and decoration, the axial focus on a central room with symmetrical seat, and the association with formal tombs (1987, 1991). By focusing her analysis on artifact distribution as a further means of differentiating functions of dominant and secondary structures, as well as different spaces both within and outside of these, she found that the dominant structure was also characterized by the presence of food-serving ceramics but absence of food-cooking ceramics. The privilege of those high status persons who used or lived in the dominant structure was thus supported by evidence that their food was brought to them already prepared (Hendon 1991:906). Hendon concluded that all the dominant type structures in her sample were residences of the high status members of each respective group (Hendon 1991:906). Hendon suggests that hierarchically positioned sleeping seats may also have been the sites of various meetings and other more public events (1987:538), and therefore that the dominant structure and central seat served both residential and administrative functions. Carmack's ethnohistoric documentation on the K'iche Maya capital of Utatlan argues similarly for the close relationship between administration and the hierarchically privileged seat. He writes that "Along with the titles came some of the symbols of lordly caste, particularly the sacred benches and chairs upon which they sat during council meetings" (Carmack 1981:153). Tomas Lopez Medel, a judge in the colonial Spanish administration, reported that rulers were buried underneath these seats of judgement (Carmack 1981:288), a 74 relationship between burial of the patriarch and his seat-of-authority that is also apparent in Classic Maya remains (Tikal Structure 5D-46, for example). These hierarchically privileged seats of K'iche lords were located within the dominant residence, called nim ja, or "big house". Carmack writes of these big houses that "the principal lineages were closely identified with the buildings in which they carried out their affairs. As discussed in the previous chapter, the question of whether the lineage patriarch or head actually slept on the Seat-of-Authority is, however, still debated. I would argue that the maintenance of a privileged position of authority might be sufficiently necessary to encourage the patriarch to sleep where he sat. Hendon's analysis adds further detail to the evidence of hierarchic privilege of these dominant structures that is evident from the plans of these residential complexes, and it specifically supports my argument that the central, symmetrical seats within these structures functioned as Seats-of-Authority. While this helps us better understand the elaboration of the Structure 9N-82 seat, it should be noted that not all Seats-of-Authority at Copan, or even within this residential district, are carved. Out of all the dominant structures excavated outside the Copan acropolis, only a handful have seats elaborated through carving. For others, privilege may have been indicated by painted design, by a particular dedication ritual, name, or story that pertained to it, or by other means we can not yet imagine. The preference for the 9N-82 seat that permeates the recent Mayanist literature and has led to an undue focus on this structure may be due in part to its comfortable fit with European-derived aesthetics and notions of value that result in descriptions of such objects as "treasures." 75 A final argument remains to complicate this issue of the relationship of a lineage or faction head to a seat of authority, and that is the issue of time. Haviland's excavations in residential groups at Tikal also revealed evidence for dominant structures associated with a succession of heads. However, utilizing a Life Course Model he further theorized movements of people among the architectural spaces through time and specifically at the event of replacing a deceased head. Haviland reasoned that those in line to succeed, whether a younger brother, son, or other heir, would be living in one of the secondary residences in the complex. Then, when the head died and the heir took his place, the heir would move into the dominant residence, usually waiting until it could be rebuilt or refurbished. This would leave his former residence vacant for the next heir to move into, and so on by a process Haviland cleverly refers to as "musical hammocks" (Haviland 1988:120-28). This explanation, while opening up new avenues of interpretation, assumes that the heir did not reside in the same structure as the residence head, a supposition that cannot as yet be proven. What suggests that residential arrangements of heads and heirs were variable is the variety of responses possible to the death and succession transition. For example, while in Group 9N-8 at Copan, the dominant Structure 9N-82 was almost certainly rebuilt for a new lineage head in the mid-eighth century, in the nearby Group 9M-22 successive heads built new dominant residences next to or across from that of the preceding head (Sheehy 1991). In a larger scale, the issue of time is also central to Tourtellot's discussion of dominant structures as the earliest and most often reconstructed buildings in a 76 residential group. Excavations in the 9N-8 Group at Copan abundantly support Tourtellot's relation between the age and importance of the dominant structure and, once the residential group expands into subsidiary arrangements, of the dominant court. Not only is the 9N-8 Group the second in monumentality only to the Acropolis group at Copan, but it also features the earliest known remains. In the highest status Plaza A was found a burial richly furnished with ceramics and jade, and dating about 1200 years prior to the dedication of the Structure-82 Seat! (Webster 1989:12-16). Webster discusses evidence from the intervening centuries of frequent structural modifications and a long series of occupations during which individual courtyard units were grafted onto the growing complex. If the quality of elaboration of the Structure 9N-82 seat actually did indicate an unusually powerful non-royal faction, it was nothing new in the late eighth century - it had more than a millenium of status behind it. No archaeologist has suggested that the rich Pre-Classic burial under this court represented a threat to dynastic kingship at Copan circa 500 BC. Hence it is only the coincidence that the Structure 9N-82 seat was dedicated a few decades before the cessation of monument erection that has led to its insertion in a revolutionary collapse scenario. Conclusion Rather than having been the rare commodity presently assumed, my dataset indicates that ancient seats were abundant and were fashioned of a variety of materials - those constructed of stone are merely more permanent. Among these, it has been possible to distinguish seats in subsidiary structures and in subsidiary 77 rooms of the dominant structure from the most highly privileged Seat-of-Authority. The symmetrical seat at the centre of a symmetrical structure and the focus of an axial plan would function as the location of privilege, the Seat-of-Authority, whether or not it was highly decorated. For this reason, I argue that the form of a seat alone cannot be used to determine its function, whether as "bench" versus "throne" in the conventional terminology, or as "subsidiary seat" versus "Seat-of-Authority" in my terminology. Hierarchy, I argue, is evident primarily from the context, and only secondarily from the decoration. This flexibility of form to fulfill a similar social function allowed a development of great diversity in the form and decoration of Maya Seats-of-Authority, particularly during the Late Classic period. Much of this diversity evolved as a series of regional fashions for particular combinations of form and decoration. For example, slab type Seats of-Authority were most common in the Usumacinta region. The "Throne 1" of Piedras Negras (Figure 13), found broken but in situ at the appropriate axial focus within the royal residence, is only the most famous example. Slab type seats with hieroglyphs and other carvings on the front edge and support stones are also found in other Usumacinta sites, although some of these are known from fragments (Palenque) or have been reburied (Yaxchilan). Another distinctive variety is the so-called "dais" at Chichen Itza, its profile imitating the talud-tablero format of central Mexican architecture. In many cases the vertical tablero section is decorated with relief carvings of undulating serpents, while the sloping talud section features processions of prisoners or warriors. Also common in ninth century Chichen Itza is a very large, multi-slab type seat supported by a large number of three-dimensional 78 male figures carved in Atlantean posture. The five dominant residences in the North Terrace Group each feature such a seat at the back centre of the rear room (as in the latest "Temple of the Warriors" illustrated in Figure 33).41 What has been most enigmatic to archaeologists concerning Seats-of-Authority is why none with elaborate carved decorations have been found at Tikal, where representations of elaborate seats do occur on carved wooden lintels. Indeed, this issue was raised as recently as late 1998 in a conference on "Maya Palaces" at Yale University. According to the analysis presented here, there are several Seats-of-Authority present in dominant residences at Tikal, and their solid masonry and axial placement, often with symmetrical bolsters uniformly characterize them. I would also emphasize the fugitive nature of painted and perhaps stuccoed decoration. In excavations of the "Lost World Complex" (El Mundo Perdido) at Tikal, Juan Pedro LaPorte and Vilma Fialko encountered an intact seat decorated with the same deep-relief painted stucco designs of a woven mat motif with pendant tassels (Garcia Urrea 1987:89) that also decorate an otherwise plain seat featured in a vase painting from the same area and also referencing a ruler from Tikal (Figure 34). As will be shown in the next chapter, representations on several painted ceramics from the region of Tikal typically show Seats-of-Authority with painted decorations. At Copan, the fashion in the eighth century was for masonry seats carved with figures and hieroglyphic inscriptions. Three dominant residences on the main 4 1 These five structures, erroneously called "temples" are: the "Upper Temple of the Jaguars," "Temple of the Chacmool," "Temple of the Warriors," "Temple of the Big Tables" and "Temple of the Little Tables." For these five structures there are only four seats: as noted previously, the seat from The "Temple of the Chacmool" was moved to the "Temple of the Warriors" when the latter structure was built above the former. 79 acropolis featured such seats (Structures 10L-11, 10L-18, 10L-22), as did four dominant residences in more suburban parts of the site, including Structure 9N-82. The other three examples, which will be discussed further in terms of iconographic and epigraphic analyses, are commonly known as the Harvard Seat from Group 9M-18, the El Grillo Seat from Group 10K-4, and the Planetary-Band Seat from Group 8N-11. As Villela points out, "commissions by secondary figures employed the same iconographical and compositional vocabulary as their kings" (1993a:2). It should be noted, however, that the carved seats in the acropolis at Copan are different in construction from those in other complexes. Because they appear in buildings with a central rear chamber behind the central entrance, they double in function as thresholds to the raised inner room. The Structure 9N-82 seat also features imagery that is typical of Copan's fashion for carved seats, including full-figure hieroglyphs, serpent motifs, and atlantean supports. These will be subjected to iconographic analysis in Chapter Five. The evidence in many sites or regions for several elaborated Seats-of-Authority erected within short spans of time suggests the quality of a temporary fashion rather than a long-standing royal prerogative. In particular, the evidence for multiple, near contemporary Seats-of-Authority elaborated in different dominant residences at Copan and Chichen Itza argues for the participation of such seats in factional competitions. The more lavish the seat, and/or its dedication ceremony, the more effective the bid by the faction leader for allegiance of subordinates and therefore for influence concerning the deployment of their labour and investment of their surplus production. 80 The fact that leaders of different factions adopted similar forms with which to engage in this factional competition was shown by Renfrew and Cherry (1986) to-be typical of such peer interaction, since it constructs a mutually agreed-upon field upon which competitive display may be enacted. It demonstrates that in factional competition, dominant members of different factions compete with each other for positions of power and prestige, but also cooperate with each other in defining the trappings that construct and legitimate their superior status. The Model of Factional Competition thus explains the fashions for seat decoration, as well as many other fashions evident in Maya representation, much better than Autocratic Models of royal prerogative, Class Models of elite lifestyle, or Pathology Models of nobles' revolt. 81 CHAPTER THREE: Representations of Seats in Other Media Incorporating the Representative Data In addition to actual remains of seats, a significant portion of the dataset involves representations of persons of authority upon these seats, in media including ceramic figurines, painted ceramic serving vessels, 4 2 mural paintings, and relief sculptures. Among these media, few figurines or painted ceramics depicting seats have been excavated by archaeologists, so there is little information other than what may be suggested from texts and images on the objects themselves. In the case of mural paintings, the context is better known but little survives, with the murals of the three-roomed Structure 1 at Bonampak as the notable exception. Relief sculpture, on the other hand, is both abundant and often involves contextual information as well as inscriptional records. Of these media, only relief sculpture bridges the categories of kin-based factions and the polity or state as defined by Cohodas (1996). As expected from Cohodas' model, representations of seats, like seats themselves, are generally restricted to sculpture associated with residences and frequently viewed in interior or private locations. These include particularly door lintels and wall panels. 4 2 Unless otherwise noted, all illustrations of vases or bowls are copies of photographs by ©Justin Kerr. Kerr's rollout images of painted and/or incised wares, have been for the last two decades, and continue to be, instrumental necessities for advancements in Maya studies. As of January 1997, the Kerr Archive included 1330 rollouts of Maya vessels. Of these, 385 included representations of seated personages and seats of several types, although this proportion is biased by current preference for ceramics with narrative scenes (both in the antiquities market and in archaeological publications). 82 Examination of these representations of seats helps clarify the complex of practices and meanings surrounding them in two ways. First, these representations supplement the data on both perishable seats and perishable decorations of masonry seats. Second, these representations provide more information on the institutional position and status of persons for whom they were made, and the social relationships involved in some of the practices focused around this union of patriarch and seat. While it must be recognized that these representations are not unmediated translations of some separate reality of actual seats, they nevertheless "point to" information about the roles and functions of seats which is otherwise unrecoverable. The Evidence for Seats That Once Were Most of the perishable seats represented in figural media fall into three categories, each involving a particular combination of materials and construction techniques. The largest of these, constructed from wood and/or bamboo poles lashed together, are frequently depicted on vase paintings from Motul de San Jose at the end of the eighth century. In a typical example, the ruler of Motul appears seated on the lashed construction and is attended by three men carrying parasols (Figure 35). The ruler faces a subordinate dancing with a severed head, who appears to present the ruler with three bound prisoners seated in the court below. Even more substantial portable seats of lashed pole construction are depicted on the carved wooden lintels of Tikal's Temples I and IV (circa AD 730 and 746 respectively). On Lintel 3 of Temple IV, the ruler appears on a drum-shaped carved 83 seat with cushion back-rest, all supported on a stepped platform which is shown to be portable by the carrying poles lashed to its base, as depicted in cross-section at the lower corners (Figure 36). The side view of this type of platform is depicted at the bottom of Lintel 3 of Temple I (Figure 37). In both examples, animal images of war patrons tower over the seated ruler: a bicephalic monster on Lintel 3 of Temple IV, and a Jaguar on Lintel 3 of Temple I. The impression made by such processions may be suggested by the frequency with which they were sketched in graffiti on stucco walls of both residential and ritual buildings in the heart of Tikal (Freidel, Scheie, and Parker 1993:313) and at the nearby site of Holmul (Merwin and Vaillant 1932). Inscriptions on Tikal's lintels depicting these seats are currently interpreted as providing information on their extreme symbolic importance, with emphasis on the capturing of an enemy's seat and displaying it in procession as part of the public victory and sacrificial ceremonies (Scheie and Freidel 1990:203-215; Grube and Martin 1998). A second category of seats that may be of perishable materials is also commonly represented at Tikal, and these are the actual seats on which the ruler or other patriarch sat while being carried in the lashed-wood litter construction (this type of seat is illustrated in Figures 36 and 37). These are drum-shaped seats, possibly carved from wood, and featuring the same elements common on ruler's public costume, including youthful faces with a triad of dangling celts, bands with mat designs, and pendant shells. The third category of perishable seats commonly featured in figural representation, and partially discussed in the previous chapter, involves cushions 84 covered in fabric or pelts. Those with pelts feature jaguar spotted designs and often these only cover the top half, stitched to woven material that covers the bottom half of the cushion. This type is illustrated in a drawing of a complex painted scene on a Late Classic vase, with the pelt-covered seat in question occupied by the aged God D who is shown receiving a pair of Quetzal birds (the lower one is the male) from a dwarf (Figure 38). This pattern of jaguar pelt stitched to fabric became a sign in its own right, decorating the rims of Late Classic serving plates, for example. In most cases, the cushion supplements a stone seat, but on many ceramic vases the cushion alone indicates the elevated status of the male actor, as on the painted ceramic vase found in Burial 196 at Tikal, dated circa AD 750, where in each of two scenes a seated male patriarch converses with a bird-headed youth (Figure 39). Another indication of the ancient significance of cushions may be found on a group of vessels (as illustrated in Figure 40 for example), that depict a jaguar-pelt covered cushion being carried along in a dignitary's procession, presumably for use at his destination.43 Perishable ornamentation of masonry seats is represented primarily on painted ritual and service-ware ceramics and particularly the cylindrical, vase-shaped vessels used to store and serve a chocolate {cacao) beverage. I have sorted this seat ornamentation into nine major varieties as described below and charted in Table 4. 4 3 These scenes were previously interpreted as funeral processions (Coe 1973) or merchants' journeys Molina (1983: personal communication). I am reinterpreting these scenes as the type of diplomatic visit described by Scheie and Mathews (1989), or perhaps more local visits between patriarchal faction leaders. 85 1. Woven Mat Motifs (Table 4.1). While only a few fragments of ancient Maya matting have survived, their archaeological contexts complement what is portrayed in iconographic imagery and hieroglyphic texts: depictions of woven mats show them in use as seat covers and/or seats for youthful and richly attired males, often accompanied by glyphic passages referring to the ritualized event of seating or accession. As Francis Robicsek's study of the mat symbol (1975:131) demonstrated, the three types of weaving patterns apparent from actual remains (oblique lines, reflecting triangles, and cross-hatch) are depicted as well in representational media. The design most frequently incorporated by vase painters as a woven mat seat-covering is an interlocking diagonal oblique pattern, as seen in the detail of a vase painting (Figure 41). 2. Hieroglyphic Texts (Table 4.2). Depictions of seats having bands of glyphic inscription are known from several media. An example painted on a ceramic vase shows a repeating and possibly unreadable text on a cantilever-edged slab/support seat occupied by a male patriarch resting against a stuffed cushion, and holding what appears to be a bouquet of flowers, as he converses with attendants who may have brought the bundles and other objects that appear on and below the seat (Figure 25). In contrast, a readable text recording the dedication of a seat is incised on the miniature ceramic seat, shown here without the accompanying figurine of a seated male patriarch that is normally designed to occupy it (Figure 42). 4 4 Other seats displaying hieroglyphic texts may be seen in Christopher Corson's study of Jaina-style figurines (1976:figs.24a-c). The 4 4 As David Stuart suggested in 1989, this text refers to u-chu-m(u), "his/her-seat". 86 limestone wall relief known as the Kimbell Panel, thought to be from Lax Tunich near Yaxchilan, also includes the depiction of an inscribed seat (Figure 17), as does Stela 3 from Piedras Negras (Maler 1901 :PI.XIII). While seats painted with glyphs for vase narratives are largely unreadable, those on actual seats are generally dedicatory passages. House dedications are most frequent, suggesting that a newly renovated or constructed building also required a newly constructed seat. 3. Sky Bands (Table 4.3). This motif, also referred to as the Planetary Band, or Celestial Band, is a segmented horizontal band most commonly featuring symbols for the Sun, Moon, Earth, Sky, Venus, and possibly Mars. The sky band may appear in simplified form as a frame above or below a scene, as in an eighth century ceramic vase painting where in each of two scenes the patriarch seated on a pelt-covered cushion holds a fan or parasol (Figure 43), and in an earlier, seventh century ceramic vase painting where the aged God D holds audience with two youths known as the "Hero Twins" or "Headband Twins" (Figure 44). The planetary or sky band also appears as a stepped seat, particularly when occupied by the aged God D, as on the ceramic just described (Figure 44), on an eighth century example where the deity confronts dancing shark and toad deities (Figure 45), and a contemporaneous piece where he confronts a figure with the head of a coatemundi (Figure 46). The planetary or sky band also appears in diverse media as a substitution for the body of the bicephalic or "celestial" monster, which would explain why the two heads of the planetary band seat on one vase, illustrated in Figure 44, features two heads. In some cases, the glyph 87 for sky (or chart) instead decorates some component of the seat, as on a painted ceramic vase where, in each of the two scenes, a patriarch sits on a cantilever-edged slab/support seat gazing into a mirror (Figure 24). In this example, the figure appearing on the left of the drawing sits on a jaguar pelt cushion, smokes a cigar and holds a bloodletter, while the sky sign appears on the bundle or cushion behind the figure appearing on the right. 4. Serpentine (ophidian) Images (Table 4.4). In Maya imagery serpent heads have long bulbous snouts, back-curving front fangs, and jaws usually opened at a 90-or 180-degree angle. Serpent bodies or skins may incorporate a Sky Band (as seen for example on the seat depicted in the ceramic illustrated in Figure 46), again demonstrating the equivalence of chanlsky and cftan/serpent. More frequently, serpent bodies are decorated with the cross-hatched triangles representative of diamond-backed rattlesnakes common in the Maya area, as also seen in the ceramic illustrated in Figure 46. As will be discussed more fully in Chapter Five, serpents may be shown with either one, two, or twinned-heads. The prevalence of seats embellished with serpentine imagery is equaled only by those depicted with jaguar motifs. 5. Jaguarian Motifs (Table 4.5). The Maya incorporate several devices to differentiate jaguars from other felines. Characteristics include pelt markings composed of small dark spots encircling a central larger spot to form a rosette, and heart-shaped, spotted ears. This rosette-type depiction of jaguar spots is particularly clear in a ceramic painting from Motul de San Jose dating from the late eighth or early ninth century, wherein jaguar pelts drape both the seat and 88 cushion occupied by the corpulent ruler, who is attended by two servants as he gazes at the three men who are dancing in the court below as they let blood from their genitals (Figure 47). Jaguarian seats may be depicted as three-dimensional zoomorphs, as seen on the Oval Palace Tablet from House E of the Palenque Palace (mid-seventh century) supporting the ruler, Pakal, as he receives the royal headband and headdress from his mother, who had served as regent but abdicated when Pakal came of age to rule (Figure 14). A more animated zoomorphic jaguar seat in rampant or acrobatic posture is depicted on a ceramic painting from Motul de San Jose. The front legs of the jaguar appear in position where one might expect the ruler's legs, but these are flexed over the jaguar's shoulders, while the jaguar's hind legs arch over the ruler's head (Figure 48). In this ritual or dance, the ruler appears masked, as do the three other dancers, and a kneeling servant attends him. Another variation shows a whole jaguar pelt draped over a seat, as may be seen in the famous "Vase of the Seven Gods" (Figure 49a) and an elaborated version with eleven gods (Figure 49b). In both these examples the aged and cigar-smoking God L sits on a jaguar-draped seat over which crouches a monstrous insect. The text before this god refers to acts of creation and names the deities depicted on the two levels confronting him. As previously mentioned, jaguar pelts are also shown stitched to other fabrics as the upper side of cushion coverings (Figures 38, 39, 40). 6. Crocodilian (saurian) Images Table 4.6). There exist a variety of crocodilian-designs for Maya seats, most exhibiting features characteristic of a generic saurian. These include a broad, rubbery and often pendulous snout, squared 89 and squinting eyes, a rubbery and fanged upper lip-band, and usually having no lower jaw. They may be depicted only as heads, as on a three-stone seat included in a narrative ceramic painting (Figures 38, 50), or as full-figured and three dimensional zoomorphs, such as the seat-like stone known as Altar T from Copan, where the crocodile depicted in splayed fashion on the top and back of the sculpture is accompanied by a series of deceased rulers and deities, many sitting on symbols of their supernatural location (Figure 51). 7. Composite Motifs (Table 4.7). There are a number of motifs that are often depicted in combination, such as bicephalic serpents and woven mats, or jaguar pelts and mat designs. A composite of sky band, saurian, mat motif and kun-markings is carved on Stela 32 at Naranjo (Graham 1978:87) while Stela 22 at the same site combines the mat motif, jaguar pelt, and a generic reptilian (Graham and Von Euw 1975:55). In some depictions, the seating arrangement is itself composite, as with the drum-shaped wooden seats carried on huge but portable seat platforms depicted in the lintels of Tikal (Figures 36, 37). Similarly, one scene from a Late Classic painted ceramic features a solar God on a pelt-covered, drum-shaped seat decorated with mat designs, itself perched atop a zoomorphic stone seat (Figure 52). The mythological scene in which this configuration occurs, known from several examples, involves a rabbit (shown hiding behind the seated god) who has stolen the dress and attributes of the aged God L (shown kneeling on the left). 8. Abstracted Designs (Table 4.8). Circular or other geometric motifs are occasionally employed by ceramic artists to embellish seats or cushions of what 90 appears to be woven fabrics. A back-cushion marked with dotted folds is also decorated with splotches of colour on one Late Classic ceramic vase that shows the patriarch on a fixed masonry seat, the pulled-back spotted curtains of his chamber behind his head, confronting two men who hold what appear to be bouquets of flowers (Figure 31a). The patriarch is here furnished with abundant food and drink: a vase of foaming chocolate drink appears on the seat in front of him; a bowl probably holding atole, or maize gruel, and a plate of tamales are place on the floor in front; and a jar of water or perhaps a stronger beverage appears on the floor to the left. Since similar motifs are used as well to depict designs on clothing, restorer Barbara Kerr suggests that depictions of seats bearing textile-like designs may indeed be intended to convey that wooden and/or stone seats were actually draped in textiles (1997: personal communication). Another abstract motif employed in representations of seats appears as a tube shape divided horizontally into two wide primary cross-hatched bands, usually separated by thin plain bands. This tubular form is also divided vertically with three panels of what seems to be "wrappings". Examples of this type of seat, as carved on Altar U at Copan, the Tablet of the Sun and the Palace Tablet at Palenque are shown in Figure 53. 9. Plain Coloured Seats (Table 4.9). Although not as common as the symbolic motifs outlined above, there are instances of seats that are merely coloured, likely to represent their having been painted but lacking figural design. It is important to note that the most simply-painted seats are often occupied by persons of the highest rank, the sacred rulers or k'ul-ahaw-ob. Rulers depicted 91 on such plain seats include the ruler of Dos Pilas on one painted ceramic (Figure 31a), the ruler of Motul de San Jose on another painted ceramic, on which is also depicted a titled woman of Dos Pilas (Figure 54), and the ruler of Bonampak on a carved panel where he is shown being invested with the royal headdress at his inauguration (Figure 55). Some categories of decoration are regularly juxtaposed forming more complex designs. Examples of these that are closely related to the Copan seats will be investigated in Chapter Five in terms of iconographic and ideological constructions of patriarchal status in ancient Maya Society. Correspondences - Actual Seats and Their Representations There are several striking contrasts between ornamentation of actual seats versus ornamentation depicted in the representations of seats. Firstly, the number of undecorated or "plain" seats in the ceramic painting corpus is minimal, whereas it is the majority of actual masonry seats of authority that appears undecorated. That most Mayanists give no discussion to this distinction suggests their acceptance of this difference as factual, thus leading many to privilege seats with preserved decorations. Certainly, an argument that "plain" seats were once decorated is moot, but its possibility should be considered in any investigation of the ideological roles of material objects. This pertains especially to the present study, considering the plethora of seat-representations depicting the layers of matting and cushions, textiles, pelts, and jewels that embellish them. 92 By comparison, Late Classic Maya zoomorphic seats appear similarly in both actuality and in representations - whether serpentine, jaguarian, or reptilian. One can compare actual jaguar seats in Chichen Itza (Figure 56) with the representation of a zoomorphic jaguar seat on Stela 20 at Tikal (Figure 57). Another version of the jaguar seat is double-headed, and one can here compare the actual seat on a platform in front of the Palace of the Governor at Uxmal (Figure 58) with the representation on the Oval Tablet of House E at Palenque (Figure 14). This ovoid relief tablet was itself designed as a representation of the stuffed ovoid cushion that usually supplements a stone seat, and it was discovered in its original position on an interior wall just above an actual carved, freestanding, stone seat. While I expected to find some correspondence between a particular type of seat construction and a specified mode of decoration, such is not the case. As charted in Table 4, the different modes of decorative treatment do not seem limited to one medium or another, or to one seat type or another. That is, a particular design variety, planetary/sky bands for example, appears on several types of seats and in all media: actual seats, painted and sculptured representations, and hieroglyphs (see Chapter Four). This same variability applies to the jaguarian depictions, and is generally applicable to the serpent image. Instead, preference for certain designs in some cases is associated with regional distinctions. For example, while images of bicephalic serpents are common throughout the Maya area, they are especially prevalent at Copan, not only in the decoration of actual seats but also in hieroglyphs referring to seats. 93 It is evident from the literature on Copan's carved seats, and from a question posed to Harrison at a recent conference on "Maya Palaces," that scholars expect the degree of a seat's elaboration to accurately reflect the status of the individual seated upon it. Most of the narrative painted ceramics were produced in the Peten Maya region of the Southern Lowlands, in the areas in and around centres such as Tikal, Uaxactun, Naranjo, Calakmul, Motul de San Jose, and Dos Pilas. We have seen that at Tikal, at the heart of this Peten region, excavated seats of authority lack surviving or stone-sculptured decoration. Similarly, in most ceramic scenes, the seat of authority is most commonly shown as simple in form, but with designs varying from plain colouring or banded borders to complex imagery of planetary bands or hieroglyphic inscriptions. On those few ceramic scenes that name the seated figure as a ruler (Figures 31a, 54) there is no particular elaboration of the seat that would suggest a direct correlation between the elaboration of the seat and the status of the seated patriarch. Rather it may be that the range in context, construction, and elaboration of seats is "homologous" with the range of patriarchal positions in Maya Society, using Pierre Bourdieu's term and model, for "the correspondence which is...objectively established between the classes of products and the classes of consumers" (Bourdieu 1984:232). Roles of Seats-of-Authority in Social Relationships On painted ceramics, as well as on some relief sculptures that imitate their preferred compositions, the seat is depicted as part of a complex interior scene. The architecture of the interior is indicated in some cases by columns, but in most cases 94 is demarcated by the doorway curtains drawn up and back to reveal interior space (Figure 31a, 31b, 54). While seat, curtains, and occasionally columns provide a shorthand for suggesting this interior space, on a few examples the painter has constructed the narrative from the viewpoint of the courtyard in front of the dominant structure, allowing a view past the drawn curtains to the seated patriarch and his attendants (Figures 31b, 47). In more typical examples situated completely within the interior, representations of vessels for food and drink further define spatial relationships, placed under the seat, on top, or on the floor in front of it (Figures 25, 31a, 41, 43, 46, 51). The typical scene featuring a seated patriarch does not involve mundane events: neither labour nor rest is shown. Instead, most of these pictorial settings seem to present managerial, or administrative, situations wherein the seated figure is shown to preside over the different interactions portrayed and the focus is on constructing or maintaining relationships between social actors. Typically one or more persons of subordinate status stands, sits, or kneels before the seated patriarch (Figures 25, 31b, 41, 46, 49, 52). These attendants appear sometimes to be members of the patriarch's extended family household (Figures 31a) and sometimes visitors with their own attendants caring for staffs and bundles (Figures 31b, 35) or dancing (Figure 47). Occasions for these audiences range from paying tribute or celebrating successful battles by offering spoils and sacrificing prisoners, to marking a rite of passage for the patriarch's heir through dance and bloodletting (Reents-Budet 1994:234-289). 95 Whichever event is central, the imagery focuses on the seated patriarch as the essential element. Indeed, there are many painted ceramics in which the interior audience scene is reduced to this sole seated figure (Figure 24). And what usually marks this figure's status or centrality is the seat or cushion. On the basis of the configuration of architecture and social actors on these narratives surrounding a seated patriarch, it is evident that the architectural focus of interior scenes is the seat-of-authority in the dominant structure of a residential complex. Indeed, when other events are shown that might have taken place in the interior of a secondary residence, as with the famous "drinkers" vase (Kerr 1989-1987:1:58), no architectural features are indicated. Anthropologist Evon Vogt, who specialized in investigations of contemporary Tzeltzal and Tzotzil Maya living in Chiapas, Mexico, particularly the municipality of Zinacantan, provides information on ethnographic use of interior space that is useful for comparison with Ancient Maya architecture and narrative scenes (Vogt 1969:351, 572-575). Vogt observed the significance of seats for members of the political hierarchy in Zinacantan, specifically the hierarchical seating arrangements of village officials where priority is given to the most important patriarchal lineage head. He notes that if seats were not going to play an important role in ritual activity (i.e. sleeping platforms) they had to be as unobtrusive as possible, whereas when seats strongly control and define the space, (i.e. centred along a back wall, on axis with central doorways), it seems they were designed to double as domestic and ritual furniture when necessary. Although the ancient seats may serve their primary function only sporadically, their shape and location are nonetheless determined by 96 that function (Freidel and Sabloff 1984:15). Vogt remarks that although the particular system operating for the modern Zinacantecos cannot be projected back to ancient times, the contemporary system in general is founded on the ancient pattern of clusterings of residential units in hierarchic levels. He also claims that the contemporary system clearly does support the notion of centralized leadership involving patriarchal representatives from other households and distant communities. Although Vogt's descriptions give more attention to the dual roles of seats for residential and ritual purposes, his work clearly indicates the multiplicity of uses for Seats-of-Authority which also include administrative functions undertaken by the patriarch. As assumed in the previous literature, these ceramic scenes of audience are undoubtedly associated with high status males. That is not the problem. Instead the problem has been in considering them all as "rulers" in line with the consideration that all such painted ceramics were "royal." Kurbjuhn (1980) may have been the first to question the problematic of there being so many more thrones than there were kings. Since the writing of her dissertation, further gains in the decipherment of ceramic texts have demonstrated conclusively that most of the patriarchs portrayed on these seats of authority as the dominant seated figure are not polity rulers. A few are designated by naming texts as the ruler or sacred lord (k'ul ahaw) of known polities like Dos Pilas or the Motul de San Jose. Some other texts name the individuals simply as ahaw, a non-ruling title in many cases granted to other high-status members of the ruling faction. In a few other texts the seated personages are given the title of sahal, a head of a non-royal faction subordinate to the ruler. In most 97 cases, the seated patriarchs are named without any of the high-ranking titles that appear on stone monuments. Thus, while the seated males occupy an equivalent institutional position as patriarchal faction leader, they belong to a wide range of socio-economic levels. Likewise the ceramics were made for and used not solely by rulers but by persons of equally or homologously varied socio-economic status. Since hieroglyphic inscriptions indicate that succession of both sacred rulers (k'ul ahaw-ob) and those of other high ranks was preferentially patrilineal, it follows that these ranks, and those holding them, were defined by social and political status. Not only is the sacred lord, or k'ul-ahaw also the sacred patriarch, but what these factors also suggest to me is that the more generic and earlier title of ahaw refers to the institutional position of patriarchal faction leader. In fact, Floyd Lounsbury demonstrated that the semantic and syllabic origin of the ahaw compound translates as "he of the [woven] mat" and/or "he of the mat-seat" (Lounsbury 1973). The meaning and illustrations of ahaw as "seated person of authority" thus appears to have been extended to include other faction leaders once the titles such as sahal and ah-k'u-hun were introduced, and rulers came to be titled as k'ul [sacred] ahaw. Examination of the ceramic vessels reveals a similarly wide range of skill and labour invested in them. Again the relationship must be one of a range of quality homologous with the range of social positions, since there have been notorious discoveries of inferior quality painting on ceramics in the highest ranking tombs, as at Tikal (Coggins 1975). Coggins' interpretation of this apparent discrepancy was guided by the prevalent Autocratic Model, hence she suggested that unskilled rulers attending the funeral from other capitals might have been asked to paint these 98 scenes as a form of ritual offering and demonstration of respect. An alternative explanation would involve practices of gifting from subordinates of varied socio-economic levels. I would instead apply a Factional Model to explain these homologous ranges, whereby the use of such ceramics and the right to use a seat-of-authority within a dominant residential structure were attendant upon the institutional position of faction-head, recognizing that these factions differed greatly in economic and political strength. By the same token, the Factional Model, combined with Bourdieu's understanding of homologous ranges of objects and social positions, better explains the distribution of sculpturally elaborated seats in both the centre and outlying districts of Copan than does a narrative of nobles undercutting the foundations of dynastic power. While less capable of constructing colourful narrative hypotheses, the Factional Model is much better supported by, and better explains, the information available. 99 CHAPTER FOUR: Hieroglyphic Representations of Seats A relationship between patriarchy and seating has been demonstrated and described in previous chapters in reference to the architectural form and context of actual Seats-of-Authority and the pictorial representations of seated patriarchs especially on painted ceramic vases. In this chapter I explore the wealth of further iconographic and linguistic information that can be applied to this problem through analysis of the representations and uses of seats in hieroglyphic writing. These include terms for seats, titles for patriarchs as "seated ones," the acts by which they are seated, other events involving seats, and the uses of seats in titles for locations and polities. Because Maya hieroglyphic writing includes both phonetic and pictographic elements, seats appear in inscriptions both as graphic depictions and phonetic compounds indicating one of several Maya words for seating, seats, and seated individuals. The pictographic examples, such as the two-headed serpent seats in Copan inscriptions mentioned previously, will not feature prominently in this discussion. Instead the emphasis will be on the context in which seats or seating are mentioned in the inscriptions and the information that may also be derived from analysis of the Maya words indicated. Maya Words for Seats and Related Titles Although several nominals are now recognized as terms for seats; {kuch, kun, tz'am, po-p, chan-kun, kab-kun, chum-ib (see Table 2), the two main nominals for 100 seats and associated objects are kuch (MacLeod ef al 1993) meaning seat, and pop meaning woven mat or cushion. While some of the contexts in which these occur in inscriptions will be discussed in the following section, here I would like to point out the Maya artists' almost playful interchange of image and text. On Copan's Altar 41 for example (Figure 59, glyph D in particular) the scribe employed full-figure anthropomorphic forms of normally abstracted syllabic signs in order to express a double-entendre for kuch which, in addition to being the word for "a seat" and for "administrator", is also a word used to mean "a burden". This is likely an allusion to the burden of authority associated with "seated" officials. Another example of artistic virtuosity, in this case utilizing a pictorial representation of a seat to substitute for one of the phonetic compounds read as kuch or po, is the Bonampak panel inscription that includes a detailed depiction of the jaguar pelt-covered cushion4 5 (Figure 55, glyph A2). On the other hand, in figural imagery the main phonetic element may substitute for or decorate the image of a seat. For example, on one painted vase where a woman from Dos Pilas dances before the seated lord of Motul de San Jose, the cushion behind the ruler is decorated with the phonetic element po, which can refer to both the mat and the cushion (Figures 38, 54). Both the kuch and po (or pop) terms for seats, cushions and mats were extended linguistically to refer to the position of authority occupied by the person sitting upon them. In Classic inscriptions, the term ahpo or Ah-pop, "he of the mat or 4 5 The image of the jaguar-pelt-covered cushion is also central to the hieroglyph for "spiritual co-essence" that is read as way. That form of the cushion motif is not included in the dataset because it does not appear to represent an actual seat-cushion, although as Scheie once proposed (1985), the partial covering of the ahaw face (on the way glyph) with jaguar-pelt may refer to the way-bil as a place for transformation. 101 seat" is interchangeable with the term ahaw, discussed in the previous chapter. In fact, the two elements which together compose the term ahaw are separately read "ah" and "po" (see Figure 55, glyph A2). Personages carrying the ah-pop/ahaw title belong to the group of lords or faction heads, those who have been publicly seated or "positioned" on a woven reed mat. The kuch term for seat was also recorded in titles for patriarchal administrators among the Yucatec Maya at the time of the conquest (Tozzer 1941; Roys 1957). While the administrator of an entire province or city was sometimes called the halach winik, the "great man," by contrast, an ah-kuch, "he of the seat" or an ah-kuch-kah, "he of the seat of the town," was the administrator of a large neighborhood or community. As described by Coe (1965) and Kintz (1983), an ah-kuch had a role in the municipal government as a member of the city council, as well as being in charge of certain subdivisions of a city. The ah-kuch assembled people in their communities for banquets and festivals as well as for armed conflict. They were also responsible for collecting tribute and organizing labour. The ah-kuch title does not appear as prominently in Classic period inscriptions, but the female ahaw from Dos Pilas who dances before the ruler of Motul de San Jose has a form of the kuch glyph in her title combined with the prefix na or woman, thus naming her as a na-kuch, something akin to "she of the seat" (Figure 54).4 6 Another example of the kuch seat as a title concerns the Late Classic Tikal ruler buried with spectacular offerings under Temple I. The ruler Has'aw-Chan-K'awil (also known as "Ruler A," who died about AD 730) was laid out on a mat-covered seat (Figure 29). On the floor of the tomb chamber near his feet was a pile of bone implements, many of 102 them delicately inscribed. Typically, many of the bone inscriptions included the name of the tomb occupant. On some of these, Has'aw-Chan-K'awirs usual string of titular glyphs includes a title that I read as kuch-wan, "seated one" (Figure 60, glyph at A3). Verbal Expressions for the Act of Being Seated Critical to this topic of Maya seats versus Seats-of-Authority is the fact that the single most frequently recorded event is the act of accession, recorded in the majority of cases with a glyphic compound employing the Maya root word chum which translates as "to sit." This notation of being seated into a status of authority is known from the earliest Maya texts of circa AD 200 to the latest known texts dating to about AD 1500 4 7 As seen by comparing the image and its accompanying text in Figure 61, the earliest known glyphic reference to the act of accession employed a logographic image of a seated torso which evolved into a glyphic compound containing both the logographic picture of seating (chum) as well as phonetic and semantic complements indicating that the chum-event was a transitive, positional event. In other words the text verifies what the image infers: the person involved in the chum-event has indeed been placed on a seat. On the panel from Bonampak the glyph for the chum-wan seating event (Figure 55, glyph A2), is in fact seated on top of the image of a cushion marked with both the po sign and the stitched jaguar pelt cover, another example of the playful mixture of text and image. In addition to the cA7i/m/"seating" expression, many texts 4 6 See Villela 1993b for an extensive selection of associated glyphic compounds. 4 7 As mentioned previously, the cessation of stone-carved texts occurred about AD 900, but the tradition of writing in accordian-folded, amafe-paper books continued up to and after conquest by the Spanish. 103 record the installation of a high patriarch in office as the "tying-on of a sacred headband" (a sak-hunal). On the Bonampak panel, further complexity of meaning is introduced by juxtaposing text detailing the ruler's "seating" with an image of him accepting the sacred headband. This use of image and text that complement rather than repeat each other is common in Maya representation. Another example occurs in the same relief, wherein the common conjunction of masonry seat and cushion appears divided, showing the ruler on the masonry seat but the cushion only within the inscription.48 References to seating as the inaugural act for patriarchal faction heads also occur in ethnohistoric documents relating to conquest-period Yucatan. The Chilam Balams, or Books of the Prophetic Jaguar (Roys 1933, Edmonson 1986) written in the Yucatec Maya language during the first two centuries after the conquest, recount pre-conquest histories of various Northern Lowland Maya polities. Many crises occur, and these are typically resolved by the rite of "setting the mats in order." That the chaos often included one or more deaths of a community's leaders suggests to me that "placing the mats in order" might refer to the seating of sufficient patriarchs to reestablish authority and order in the society. The use of "mats" here might also refer to the leaders who occupy them. Nominals for Seats, Territories, and Territorial Seats Terms for seat as nominals for administered territories were recorded in conquest period Yucatan. One example is the kuch-kab-al, which would literally 4 8 Similarly, as some epigraphers have noted, Maya scribes often employed several variations of semantically and/or syllabically interchangeable forms within a single 104 mean "seat-territory-place," but which refers both to the person of authority and the seat of authority, or territorial seat for a community. Another is the kuch-te-el, a Colonial era word describing a community Seat-of-Authority (Coe 1965), and possibly referencing seats constructed of wood (te). A related and perhaps analogous term is known from Classic period inscriptions, using an alternate word for seat: kun (Houston 1994:personal communication, MacLeod 1996). The combination kab-kun (literally "earth-seat") is employed near the ends of sentences to indicate where the recorded event(s) took place. It is also used in possessed form {u-kab-kun-Ru\er X) to denote actions that took place in another polity, meaning "within the territorial seat of Ruler X". Other seat-related glyphs used in Classic period inscriptions refer, sometimes indirectly, to the territory or seat of power. One compound that has been assumed to function as a locative indicator for a particular place within a given polity has recently been deciphered as chan-kun (Stuart and Houston 1994). Because chan translates as both "serpent" and "sky," the term may literally mean both "serpent seat" and/or "sky seat." Some epigraphers (Scheie and Grube 1997; Martin 1997:personal communication) have taken this Classic era locative as a general reference to a governmental or administrative seat, comparable to an American "county-seat" or the locale wherein authority is administered, another parallel to the colonial era kuch-kab-al (see Figure 55, glyphs D2; and Figure 62). As yet though, no one has addressed the issue of why this "territorial-seat" is so often specified as a chan-seat As was shown in the preceding chapter, Maya seats are frequently decorated with serpent imagery or the sky band, and the narrative (Houston 1989; Grube 1995). 105 symbolic relationship between these two will be demonstrated in the iconographic analysis that occupies the following chapter. Because this iconographic analysis will relate the placing of seats to events of creation, it may be suggested at this point that the chan-kun, as the Seat-of-Authority within a polity, makes reference to the act by which this authority was originally established, in some cases perhaps conceptualized as the founding of the polity. In textual records of the first "kings" or the founders of Copan and Palenque, the events are actually described as taking place at the chan-kun.49 I propose that with these phrases the Maya were likely referring to the founder's setting up of the first Seat-of-Authority at a particular site. For example, Copan's Altar Q records accession rites of Copan's founding patriarch (the first ruler, Yax Kuk Mo) as having taken place at tz'am-te-na referencing the founding house as the "wooden-seat-house" (see glyphs A1-A3, in Scheie and Freidel 1990:310 fig.8:3). The frequent use of avian imagery to refer to the sky (chan) is also evident in the chan-kun compound. However, the "/o/n-bird" also appears pictorially to represent the territorial seat of authority as the earth on which a person stands. The specific territory is indicated by attaching the main sign of the polity's emblem glyph (see below) to the head of the "/a/n-bird."50 On Yaxchilan Stela 4, the ruler appears 4 9 For example, glyphs E1-F9 on Copan Stela I refer to the founding of Copan in AD 150, as having taken place at a seat (kuch, at E4), in Copan's territorial seat (chan-kun, at F9J. On Copan Stela J, glyphs 18 through 30 record later period-ending events occurring in AD 435, at Copan's acropolis-sky/serpent-seat (the ox-wi-tik-chan-kun). At Palenque the dedication of the founder's house is recorded as taking place at a Cross Group chan-kun (Scheie and Mathews 1993:123-135). 5 0 A crested avian head-variant glyph is known to substitute for the abstract signs for chan/sky (see Stuart 1995:52-53). The avian interchangeable with the "impinged bone" sign for kun/seai is a different bird - an owl; identified by a raptorial beak, a trefoil eye-patch or partially hooded eye, vertical feather-tufts as on the baktun-b'\rd, 106 standing above this basal /o/n-bird panel with Yaxchilan's emblem main-sign, also a sky symbol, infixed in the bird's forehead (Tate 1992:67 fig.c). Similarly on Tikal Altar 8, the prisoner lies on a platform over the basal /can-bird panel infixed with the main sign of Tikal's emblem glyph (Scheie and Miller 1986:251, fig.VI.9). Stuart's and Houston's discussion of Maya toponyms (1994:60) demonstrate a similar pattern at the site of Yaxha. This brings the discussion to emblem glyphs, the compound type identified by Heinrich Berlin in 1956 and deciphered by Floyd Lounsbury in 1973 (identification of the component parts is illustrated in Figure 62). The emblem glyph compound is now known to be a title for the polity ruler that developed by adding affixes to a main sign glyph emblematic of a particular territory or polity. The usual suprafix, located above the locative main sign, is composed of two phonetic elements [ah and po) that are read together as ahpo and/or ahaw. Combined with a particular main sign, this suprafix and main sign together title a person as "lord of the specified place". As polities grew in territorial scope, another affix (normally included as a prefix, to the left of the main sign), read k'ul or "holy/sacred", was added to identify the paramount ruler as the k'ul-ahaw or "sacred lord" of the specific polity (Mathews 1985a, 1992; Stuart 1988). What previous epigraphers have not noted is the frequency with which the main signs of emblem glyphs also make direct or indirect reference to seats as the symbolic character of a governed locality (Noble-Bardsley 1998). For example, the and/or what appears as a miniature tz'am/seai positioned in front of the avian head often included at either end of a serpentine or planetary band seat. Examples are Xcalumkin Miscellaneous Monument 5 (Graham 1975, 4:197); Copan's Group 8N-11 seat; or the stucco seat-support in Structure 21, Yaxchilan (Scheie 1991:119). 107 main sign for the site of Tonina is the glyph po or "mat-cushion-seat" (Figure 62a), and an alternative form of Tonina's emblem glyph depicts the /a/n-bird with a small po sign as the pupil of its eye - naming the ruler of Tonina as the "sacred lord of the mat-cushion-seat" (Figure 62b). In comparison, the main sign of the emblem glyph for the site of Caracol may also be written with an avian form of the kun glyph (Figure 62c). In conjunction with the cross motif as k'anf precious", the ruler of Caracol is being referred to as the "sacred lord of the precious territorial seat". In the emblem glyph for Machaquila (Figure 62d) the main sign and affixes together read: su-kuch or "raised seat", probably in reference to the fact that Seats-of-Authority are depicted as being on raised platforms, but possibly referring as well to the mythological cosmogonic act of "raising the sky" (see following chapter). At Seibal, the main sign of the emblem glyph depicts three stones (Figure 62e), very likely a reference to the three stone seats whose placement constituted an important part of a Maya creation event. Other emblem glyph main signs may refer indirectly or symbolically to serpent/skyband seats. These include the serpent main sign of Calakmul (Figure 62f), and the sky glyph used as main sign for the emblems of both Yaxchilan and Uaxactun (Figures 60g). The main sign for the Chichen Itza Emblem Glyph may be the ahaw phrase, which we have seen is cognate with ahpo or "he of the mat-cushion-seat" (Krochock 1988). What these particular emblem glyphs may infer is that their title as sacred lord of a particular place referred specifically to the seat of authority for that place, likely housed in the same place since the founding of the polity. It may be noted also that names for contemporary cities and villages may refer as well to their Classic era nominals as territorial seats. Examples would 108 include Cancun; a form of chan-kun, Poptun; or "seat-stone", and Ix Kun; or "jaguar seat." Verbal Compounds Involving Seats In many Maya inscriptions, the seat is not merely a title or ancillary to the act of a patriarch being seated, but is actually the object of the event that defines the glyphic passage. The particular events related in these descriptions reinforce the close relationship between seats and authority. Three common types of events may be discussed. First, as a significant emblem of authority, carved seats often included in their inscriptions the date of their dedication and name of the dedicator, presumably the seat's occupant. As will be detailed in Chapter Six, the event recorded on Copan's Structure 9N-82 seat is such a dedication. Second, the carved lintels of Temples I and IV at Tikal (Figures 36, 37) not only depict huge portable seats with jaguar and serpent deity sculptures, but also appear to relate the capture of such seats from defeated enemies and their subsequent public display at Tikal (Martin and Grube 1996:personal communication). In these cases, captured seats likely represented the defeated polity, again demonstrating the close relationship between seat and authority. Whereas conquest period codical illustrations from Central Mexico demonstrate that the burning of a town's major temple signified its defeat, among the Classic Maya it may have been the capture or destruction of a seat-of-authority. Excavation reports continue to reveal that not only were seats often ritually buried, but also that some seats, like Piedras Negras' Throne 1 (Satterthwaite 1937), Yaxchilan's Throne 1 109 (Mathews 1988), and another carved "throne" at Dos Pilas (Houston 1993), were deliberately destroyed by intruders or conquerors (Houston 1998). Furthermore, as proposed by Grube and Martin (1998) in cases where the /ovn-glyph is prefixed by a variant of ochl"\.o enter", the meaning moves beyond the mere "entering of a territorial seat". Rather, based on the varying contexts of these och-kun compounds (Palenque panel of Structure XVII, Naranjo Stela 21), it appears the intended message was a record of warfare- an invasion of the territorial locus of social and sacred power. Similarly, the glyphic compound used to record attacks on specific localities (the "star-war" glyph) which features the Venus-sign above a glyph for the place, may be written by substituting the /cun-glyph for the place, suggesting an attack on a territorial seat-of-authohty. Strong evidence for this reading is found on a panel from Tonina (Monument 27, glyph C-2) where this verb is associated with a bound captive identified as the ruler of Palenque. Third, some inscriptional references to the last Maya creation include the placing or erecting of seats as a significant event creating order out of a primordial chaos. Most commonly, this creation of order is figured as the erection of a vertical axis separating earth from sky. The event is termed the "raising of the sky" or wak-chan, which by extension may suggest the erection of a sky-Seat-of-Authority to become the centre around which human society is organized. A clearer and related reference on Quirigua Stela C details the events of creation as the placement of three stone seats (Looper 1995). This extraordinary episode of creating sanctioned venues for authority was accomplished by none other than the supernatural who also raised the sky: in this version two aged males with features of powerful land and 110 sea creatures, and known from other records of acts of creation as "The Paddler Deities" (Figure 60, the canoe-end figures).51 Significantly, the logographic names of the three cushioned seats-of-creation recorded on Stela C correspond to the three most common varieties of seats in the dataset: jaguar pelts (Figure 47), rattlesnake skins (Figure 46), and reptilian bodies (Figure 51). Furthermore, these same three varieties of seat embellishment (snake, jaguar, and shark) also correspond to the three seats used by the Maya of ancient Palenque in a narrative scene on the Palace Tablet accompanying hieroglyphic records of lineage successions (Figure 19). Conclusion The information derived from glyphic references to seats appears to consistently relate patriarchal or factional authority, including that of the ruler, to seats and the act of seating. The place from which this patriarch governs, and the territory governed, are also represented by glyphs or terms related to seats. The inescapable conclusion is that the Maya seat was not just a place on which people sat or reclined, whether for everyday activities such as eating or sleeping, or for specialized exchanges associated with the construction and maintenance of socio-political relationships. Subsuming all these was the discursive notion of the seat and seating as central to the very concept of patriarchal authority. When a Maya 5 1 The number six, read wak, is homophonous with the verb "to raise up." The names of these paired Paddler deities often include the number six and references to earth (as jaguar) and sky. The patron of the number six is the shark god (God One) also appearing in seat decoration as on Palenque's "Creation Tablet" (Porter 1994). 111 patriarch sat on a Seat-of-Authority, there was much more under him than stone, stucco and paint. He was seated on centuries of constructed and transformed notions of what constituted patriarchal authority, what its rights and duties were, what its sacred legitimations were, and how it differed from other forms of authority and other institutional positions within Maya society. 112 CHAPTER FIVE: Iconographic Analysis and New Interpretations It would not be possible in the scope of this thesis to construct a comprehensive iconographic interpretation that encompasses all of the known decorated seats or depictions of such in other media. Instead, this chapter will use the decorated Copan seats to focus a restricted iconographic argument relating imagery of serpents, atlanteans, and sky bands to mythological acts of creation that provide sacred legitimation for the authority of each successive faction patriarch. These themes in fact account for much of the imagery on Maya seats with the exception of those featuring jaguar or jaguar-related themes (as with freestanding zoomorphic seats at Chichen Itza emblematic of destructive power), and those associated with implements of warfare and sacrifice (as at Palenque and Tonina, for example). Serpents In their jointly authored 1993 volume, art historian Mary Miller and anthropologist Karl Taube have synthesized the fundamental characteristics and occurrences of dozens of Mexican and Maya deities. They list three fundamental notions associated with the Mesoamerican serpent: first, an opened serpent maw is viewed as a cave; second, the serpent-maw cave is the source of, and/or the conduit of water; and third, based on the homophonies of chan/serpent, chan/four, and 113 chan/sky,52 images of serpents and images of a particularly impressive sky-deity (a tufted raptor, the Harpy Eagle) are interchangeable. The authors also relate the pan-Mesoamerican notion that snakes were vehicles of rebirth and transformation, "for great supernatural serpents frequently belch another creature from their mouths - a warrior, a human, a god, or a skeleton" (1993:149-150). The task for this section will be to demonstrate how these general notions of the serpent as vehicle of rebirth and transformation were applied to specific types of situations by Late Classic Maya artists, and how these situations may in turn be related to serpent imagery on the Copan seats. As proposed by the early twentieth century anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep (1975) and more recently endorsed for the Maya in particular by anthropologist and linguist Dennis Tedlock (1985), transformation rituals intended to reinforce existing sociopolitical situations often re-enact origin myths based on the difficult transition through darkness and chaos to an enlightened order, thereby emphasizing the necessity to continue the extant order so as to avoid a reversion to chaos. What is significant in these rituals is the greater time and attention given to the arduous transformational task of "becoming ordered". As Van Gennep demonstrated, the period of chaos or liminality is likened to a difficult journey, often involving movement from one state to another via some ritual vehicle. For the Maya, there is good evidence that the vehicle frequently took the form of a serpentine, and usually bicephalic, reptilian seat. 5 2 While epigraphers, iconographers, and linguists have long known this particular homophony, Stephen Houston may have been the first to document its use in the writing system (Houston 1984). 114 There are several avenues of evidence that the Maya perceived serpents as vehicles of movement, transformation, and origin. One especially well-published example was encountered during excavation of the elaborate burial chamber deep inside the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque. As archaeologist Alberto Ruz discovered in 1952, the royal sarcophagus itself was accessed by a long vaulted stairway. This stairway was fitted with a carefully constructed, hollow stone tube that led from the sarcophagus in the tomb below to the rear chamber of the temple above it, where it ended in a serpent head (Scheie and Miller 1986:282). Through this "spirit tube" or "psychoduct" the deceased king could communicate with the living or perhaps eventually complete renewal and rebirth in emulation of the cyclic descent and rise of the sun (Scheie and Miller 1986:282-85). In fact, iconographic comparison demonstrates that serpent imagery in Maya art is typically associated with exactly these two themes: communication with ancestors and rebirth. Parallel to the serpent-headed psychoduct leading upwards from Pakal's sarcophagus at Palenque is the appearance of a rearing serpent on Yaxchilan Lintel 25 from which emerges a male human torso (Figure 63). Inscriptions clarify that participants had let blood in order to manifest a supernatural. The interpretation of Scheie and Freidel (1990:266-270), drawing on earlier work by Peter Furst (1976), is that participants in this auto-sacrifice would be inspired by shock, pain, and expectation, to see the serpent in the smoke coiling upward from the burning blood-spattered bark papers and incense. The artist's repetition of S-shaped serpent and S-shaped curl of smoke reinforces the symbolic correspondence of bloodletting and the vision. That the resulting vision would be a deceased ancestor is evidenced 115 both glyphically and iconographically. The mention of the lineage founder is in the secondary text referring to ritual participation of the founder and Lady Xoc, shown kneeling with a container of bloodied papers and instruments in the scene. This is complemented in the primary text concerning actions by the ruler, Shield Jaguar, who through this ritual manifests not an ancestor but a supernatural whose name is here and elsewhere at Yaxchilan identified as the spirit of his war fetish (to/c-pakal), and who is here shown bearing implements of war as he emerges from the serpent maw. It appears that text and image reinforce each other to convey that joint participation in a self-sacrificial ritual would enable communication with ancestors as well as other "helping spirits." Presumably a ruler's ancestor was revered for both his political and combative skills. A similar image of a serpent rising from the bloodletting bowl appears on Yaxchilan Lintel 13 to symbolize a similarly creative act - the birth of the ruler, as revealed by the text adjoining the head of the emerging figure (Figure 64). Frequently in painted ceramics, a similar text detailing the birth of a person (or possibly a supernatural) is accompanied by the image of a torso emerging from a snake-head. In several examples of the "codex style" vessels, the emerging figure is an elderly male, possibly designed to reference the complete cyclic mythological narrative from the death of the aged sun to his rebirth as the youthful maize deity (Cohodas 1989). Another example of this theme of the old god emerging from serpent jaws appears on a rare square-based vase with an even rarer scene of birth-giving, including additional images of serpents that further support the interrelationship of 116 serpents, transformations, and origins (Taube 1994:650-685). The woman who is depicted giving birth stands on a zoomorphic stone seat and grasps long snakes "suspended" from the top rim of the vase. Taube proposes that these dangling serpents correspond to reported contemporary birthing practices involving the parturient mother supporting her body by holding onto ropes suspended from above.5 3 In Maya dwellings, the beams that support thatch roofs, and the tie beams that are left across stone vaults, would both provide convenient tying-places for such ropes. The association of snake-like ropes with birth also extends to the image of the umbilical cord. Taube reports that "A number of researchers have noted [other examples where] the umbilical cord can be represented as a snake" (Taube 1994).54 There are also known instances wherein an emerging umbilicus is detailed as a sprouting vine, symbolic of abundant new growth. The anthropomorphic jaguar painted on a door jamb at Cacaxtla (Diehl and Berlo 1989:107, fig. 2b), and the reclining figure on the rear wall of Chichen Itza's North Ballcourt Temple (Cohodas 1978:fig. 28) are two examples. The depiction of birth from serpents was likely used to represent other forms of transformation, including major events in the lives of rulers and other patriarchs. As Scheie and Freidel describe the sculptural decoration on the monumental hieroglyphic staircase of Copan's Structure 10L-26 (1990:319), the open serpentine maw carved on top of the huge "altar" at the base of the pyramid appears to spew 5 3 As Karl Taube notes, "The use of a hanging rope for support at birth is not limited to the Maya area, and is probably of great antiquity. The birth rope is also known for the contemporary Tarascans of Michoacan, the Mixtec of Oaxaca, and the Mayo of northwestern Mexico" (Taube 1994: 650-85). 5 4 Taube cites Miller (1982:94-95), Gutierrez (1990), Bassie-Sweet (1991:153-55), Freidel, Scheie, and Parker (1993). 117 out the kings of Copan whose images are portrayed in three dimensional, larger-than-life form on the staircase leading from the altar to the small temple above.5 5 What Scheie and Freidel refer to as the "altar" is a monumentally sized seat which, like others on this staircase and like others at Copan, features serpent imagery in reference to an on-going re-enactment of an original emergence or "regurgitation" of suitably tried and tested authority figures 5 6 In her recent volume, Birds and Beasts of Ancient Latin America, Elizabeth Benson (1997:104-105) notes that "on monuments some rulers [at Tikal and Copan for example] hold in both hands an object like a sky band. It is a staff of office, a ceremonial bar that may end in serpent heads".5 7 This body with two identical serpent heads is one of the most common attributes of rulers on stela sculptures from the late Early Classic period through the Late Classic, and it conventionally features emerging deities (a youthful Maize deity, or aged solar deities-Paddler Gods) to emphasize the transformation and renewal that provide sacred legitimation for the ruler's authority (Copan Stela 6 for example: Baudez 1994:fig. 63b). 5 5 See Proskouriakoff s reconstruction of these massive stairway sculptures in Fash (1991:110, pi.VII). Since the top of the huge seat depicts an open serpentine maw, it can be argued that the entire staircase may be envisioned as a serpentine body from which the dynastic sequence of Copan's kings derives (Scheie 1996:personal communication). 5 6 In her Master's thesis of 1987, Joanne Spero cited several contemporary informants who related their understanding of serpents as "supernatural beings who devour and regurgitate humans". 5 7 Benson (1997) suggests that the "serpent-bar" was likely derived from an actual snake, indicated not only by the earliest sculptural examples that curve more naturalistically (Copan Stela 35, Tikal Stela 1), but also by a carved scene of 118 Bicephalic Monsters and Glyphic Head Forms Another version of the ruler's or other patriarch's transformation represented as emergence from a serpent appears on the niche-stelae of Piedras Negras, identified in 1960 by Proskouriakoff as images of the ruler's accession. Seated in the niche, the ruler in each case is framed by a bicephalic reptile. This bicephalic serpent form, which also appears on Yaxchilan Lintel 13, is characterized by the addition of a saurian head near or at the tail end of the serpent body (as seen in Figure 64, lower left corner). In some cases, both ends are also given saurian legs, but the serpent head is still considered the front. The bicephalic monster with its saurian rear head and occasional legs differs from the two-headed serpent bar mentioned above, in which both heads are of the open-jawed serpent type and legs do not occur. The body of the bicephalic creature may be depicted not only as ophidian (serpent formed) or saurian (crocodile like), but also abstracted as the so-called planetary band, referencing the association of the reptile creature with the milky way crossed by the sun, moon, and planets as they travel along the ecliptic. As Cohodas showed (1982), the two heads of the bicephalic monster often appear disembodied, in quasi-glyphic form, wherein the front head is also transformed into a saurian aspect (see for example the east and west sides of Copan's Stela D, Baudez 1994:fig.12b, fig. 13b). These disembodied glyphic "front and rear" heads are now further interpreted as toponyms, based on inclusion of the nal sign for "place."58 In particular, it is believed that these heads refer to locations humans dancing with snakes, an event described in the accompanying hieroglyphic record as a "snake dance" (see Scheie 1991:186, Site R, Lintel 4). 5 8 These front and rear heads are sometimes nicknamed the "7 and 9 heads" because of the numerals that accompany them. Because the number 9 is 119 involving portals of access to the supernatural "underworld" places where certain types of ritual were enacted (Stuart and Houston 1994; Freidel, Scheie, and Parker 1993:460, note 19). As several Mayanists have noticed, the two toponymic heads also occur on juxtaposed "centre-line" markers at Copan's major ballcourt, again suggesting transformative ritual movement (Cohodas 1975, 1991). Mayanists are also well aware of the transformational symbolism of ballcourts from reading the Popol Vuh 5 9 origin story that involves two ballgame competitions between the forces of destruction (underworld deities of darkness and chaos) and of renewal (upperworld deities of daylight and order). The eventual conquest by the upperworld is the catalyst that engenders the origin of humanity, and was clearly the finale following a journey through a conceptualized vessel of transformation, marked at each portal as a supernatural realm. On an interior step-as-seat in Structure 10L-22 on the Copan acropolis, the bicephalic monster surrounds the upper part of the doorway (Figure 65), just as it surrounds the niche in which the ruler sits on Piedras Negras accession stelae.60 conventionally associated with the underworld in Maya cosmography, Cohodas associates the rear head with the nadir of the underworld. The number 7, on the other hand, is associated with the surface of the earth, which is consistent with the representation of the front head as a serpent from which the sun or maize deity emerges, metaphorically, at dawn (Cohodas 1975, 1991). 5 9 Information about the Popol Vuh, its discovery, and its content is widely available (Tedlock 1985). Briefly, it is a compilation of stories that explains the origins of the important families of the K'iche Maya. Like many origin myths, it carries a set of hero-twins through an arduous journey, involving several trials, that eventually leads them out of darkened chaos and into the order of sunlit humanity. In the central palimpsest of the Popol Vuh, the youthful twins play ball against the aged deities of the underworld. 6 0 Another interior step-seat at Copan's acropolis (Structure 10L-18) features carved imagery that combines the notion of a bicephalic reptilian with a glyphic representation of one of the two numbered, toponymic heads. In this instance the 120 This suggests that certain Seats-of-Authority may have been marked as a zone of transformational ritual from which certain humans seated thereon may derive supernaturally sanctioned, quasi-shamanic powers.61 The Serpent/Sky Homophonv While serpents are frequently employed as symbols of origin, transformation, and emergence in Mesoamerica, I propose that for the Maya in particular, the homophonic relationships for the term chart (with its meanings of serpent, sky and the number four) has allowed for several general and particularized concepts to be employed simultaneously toward ensuring continued acceptance of a dominant ideology. For example, as mentioned above, composite reptilians of the two-headed serpent and bicephalic monster type are frequently shown with their bodies formed by the planetary or sky band, drawing on the sky/serpent homophony to comment on the patriarch's legitimating transformation (e.g. Seibal Stela 10). It is not surprising then, that while the Structure 9N-82 seat at Copan arranges the glyphs along the body of a bicephalic monster represented by the heads at either end, Copan's El Grillo seat (of Group 10K-4, Figure 67) instead combines planetary symbols of the chan/sky-band and the chan/serpent belly markings. A striking version of a skyband-seat is carved on the unpublished seat excavated in another of Copan's number-seven-head marking the entrance to the interior chamber designates it as a supernaturally sanctioned realm (Hohmann 1995). 6 1 The scope of this work does not allow for any depth of discussion concerning contemporary Maya ritual practices. However, it is well acknowledged that in contemporary Maya communities an important ritual practice is the lineage-lord's establishment of a special "place" (a table, a room, or house for example) that is set up to serve as a conduit to the supernatural (Tedlock 1985:70, 164; Scheie and Freidel 1990:427, passim). 121 suburbs: Group 8N-11. For the patriarch of that community, planetary symbols were elaborated along the front edge of the seat as a band of figural vignettes flanked on either end by /avn-birds. By comparison, on several ceramic paintings showing a supernatural occupying the seat-of-authority, the seat is transformed into a planetary or sky band (as seen, for example, in Figures 44, 45, 46). 6 2 In one Classic period ceramic example the serpent/sky/seat configuration is explicitly related to a creation myth involving the primordial raising of the sky, the wak-chan63 event: the three glyphs incised within the coils of the naturalistic c/?an/serpent-seat depicted name it as the wak-nal chan-kun, or "raised-place sky/serpent-seat" (Figure 68). 6 4 That the erection of a structure, and presumably its seat therein, may be perceived as like-in-kind to the wak-chan event, is also suggested by an Early Classic vessel incised with both a serpent labeled as a wak-chan, and a hieroglyphic text recording the dedication of Structure 5D-46 at Tikal, the structure wherein the vessel was cached (a drawing of this ceramic is shown in Figure 69). As presently deciphered, the superhuman act referred to on this ceramic and related hieroglyphically at Palenque as the wak-chan event involves a primordial maize deity (also known by some Mayanists as Hunal-Ye, "God-One" and/or "First Father") who was the first to be able to lift the weight of the sky away from the earth, 6 2 Repetition of this theme in the Codex Dresden of circa AD 1500 demonstrates its persistence from the Classic period to the time of conquest. 6 3 Decipherment of the wak-chan compound was contributed by linguist Nicholas Hopkins, during the 1978 Workshop on Maya Hieroglyphs, University of Texas at Austin (cited in Scheie and Freidel 1990:426). 6 4 Another vertically oriented serpent named as a wa/c-cr?an/"raised-sky" occurs on the miniature Hauberg Stela, dated around AD 200, and thought to have originated in the Peten area of the Southern Lowlands (see Scheie and Miller 1986:191). 122 to separate dark from light by allowing the sun to rise, in effect to enable human knowledge of the earth. It is my opinion that, based on the dual possibilities of both chan/sky and cfran/serpent, the glyphic chan-kun is a more specific reference to the event of the founding of an important patriarchal faction, even to the level of a polity. I argue that the repeated hieroglyphic reference to a territorial seat of authority as a chan-kun is a calculated reference to both the requisite journey traveled through the serpent/c/iar? vessel of transformation (the serpentine psychoduct), and the original raising of the skylchan, which was the creative act required so that Seats-of-Authority could then be set in place. The hieroglyphic narrative of creation on Stela C at Quirigua makes the clearest reference to the supernatural legitimation of authority symbolized by a specific set of seats. Matthew Looper (1995) explains how the setting up of three different seats is hieroglyphically recorded as the critical event that occurred on the first day of Maya creation. He notes that this extraordinary episode of creating sanctioned venues for authority was accomplished by the supernaturals who in several versions of Maya cosmogony also raised the sky: the two aged males with features of powerful land and sea/sky creatures, known to Mayanists as "The Paddler Gods." Cohodas (1998: personal communication) suggests that the shark and jaguar Paddler Deities are cognate with the paired K'iche Maya deities Gucumatz and Huracan in the Popol Vuh, and with the paired "axis erectors" Quetzalcoatl (Plumed Serpent) and Tezcatlipoca (Jaguarian Sorceror) of Aztec mythology. 6 5 The fact that decorations on Maya seats divide neatly into categories 6 5 See Cohodas 1982 and Villela 1989 for further discussion of the Paddlers and transformational events. 123 of jaguar and serpent/bicephalic imagery further support my contention that Maya seats-of-authority referenced cosmogony. As mentioned in the last chapter, the logographic names of the three cushioned seats recorded on Stela C correspond to the three most common varieties of seats in the dataset: jaguar pelts, rattlesnake skins, and reptilian bodies, (see a comparison of the seats on Quirigua's Stela C with those on Palenque's Palace Tablet, Figure 70). The three stones of creation, described on Quirigua Stela C, are perceived by some Mayanists as symbolic prototypes for the three hearthstones used in Maya homes for over three millennia (Freidel, Scheie, and Parker 1993:67). Both the setting up of three hearthstones to dedicate or "centre" a newly constructed Maya house, and the setting of three Seats-of-Authority, are creative acts of reordering (like "placing the mats in order") which serve "to put into order," "to bring into existence" (Vogt 1976:21 ).66 Whether or not the mythical establishment of three Seats-of-Authority (as per the mythic origin of the jaguarian seat, the serpentine seat, and the saurian seat recorded on Stela C at Quirigua) symbolically corresponds to the setting up of three hearthstones in a house as similar initial acts of creation, it is clear that both acts enable the orderly functioning of society, the ritual aspects of domestic reproduction and the rituals of sociopolitical reproduction. Note also that while the three hearthstones engender fire; primordial placement of the three authoritative seats accompanied the emergence of daylight. The initial section in the Popol Vuh, "The Beginning of the Ancient World" presents another version of creation as the separation of the sky from the sea, which 6 6 See also Reents-Budet's discussion (1998) of the parallels between the three seats of creation and the three locatives recorded on "Holmul Dancer" vases. 124 enabled Gucumatz, the "Plumed Serpent,"67 to create all known flora and fauna, in addition to several unsuccessful attempts to create human beings. Although in this version, full daylight does not occur until a later part of the Popol Vuh myth, it is the initial separation, or "raising of the sky", that allows for "just a trace of early dawn on the face of the earth" (Tedlock 1985:86). One pair of seat-supports at Copan alludes specifically to the mythical event of the "raising of the sky" in a way that similarly emphasizes the emergence of daylight. The legs of the El Grillo Seat (of Group 10K-4, Figure 67) incorporate glyphic emblems for the "earth" and the "sky" that are perhaps being forced apart to allow insertion of the head-variant of the glyph for "sun". While this particular glyphic compound of sky/sun/earth is commonly used in Maya texts to denote the passage of one day's time (or one dawning) between two events, its innovative use on this seat clearly refers to the initial cosmic event completed by a powerful entity - in this case the sun itself. As it is known that Maya lords were perceived as human counterparts of the sun, it seems plausible that seated Maya figures might have thus been perceived as having a like-in-kind relationship to the original actor ("God-One" or "First Father") whose significant feat constructed significant authority. Indeed, representations of Maya rulers are frequently ornamented with emblems of both the solar deity and God-One (Stelae I and B of Copan, Cross Group panels of Palenque). 6 7The Plumed (and hence avian) Serpent has obvious connections to the homophony of chan/serpent and chan/sky. Tedlock relates that Sovereign Plumed Serpent is described as both the "Keeper of the Mat" and the "Keeper of the Reception House", and that because of his demonstrations of supernatural power, it is difficult to separate the Plumed Serpent as King from the Plumed Serpent as deity (1985:355). 125 The Pauahtun-ob as Sky-Raisers Another version of the origin-event (the wa/c-cftan/raised-sky event), requires atlanteans, or pahuatun-ob to bear the weight of the sky, holding it separate from the earth. Pauahtun-ob, like the Paddler Gods, are aged male deities, who in the conquest period were called the bakab-ob or "the standing up ones." Ethnographic studies show that Mesoamerican mythology often expresses a belief that the world rested on the shoulders of four gods situated at the four quarters/directions. As well as being sky-bearers and/or earth-bearers, these pauahtun-ob are associated with mountains and the thunder believed to originate in mountain caves (see Bassie-Sweet 1991:116-119; Miller and Taube 1993:132). In Classic Maya representation these pauahtun-ob are one of the most common forms of seat decoration, generally occupying the legs so that they appear to support the seat, just as the deities they represent support the actual sky, but sometimes appearing young rather than old. At Copan, seat supports decorated with pauahtun-ob appear in outlying residences in the Structure 9N-82 seat (Figure 2a) and the Group 9M-18 seat (the Harvard seat, Figure 18), while in the Copan acropolis they appear above the 10L-22 seat-step, supporting the bicephalic monster that arches over the door (Figure 65). This motif is not limited to Copan, as demonstrated by the example of the Del Rio seat from House E in the Palenque Palace (Figure 14), a later example on Lintel 4 at Lax Tunich (Figure 17), and others in the Yucatan. In the North Terrace Group of circa AD 900 at Chichen Itza, the large slab-seats are supported by atlantean figures represented as human 126 warriors (illustrated in Figure 33). The earliest example of a seat supported by atlanteans was uncovered at Portrero Nuevo, near the Early Olmec (Pre-Classic) site of San Lorenzo, and is dated circa 1000 BC (Figure 71 ).68 Considering the importance of a legitimating mythology to patriarchal authority, the image's long history and allusions to the creation of social order are not surprising. In texts describing Palenque's wak-chan event, the supernatural actor is also named as the "father" of a trio of supernatural male personages, who in turn enabled the birth of the human who became the dynastic patriarch of Palenque. In terms of my study of Seats-of-Authority what this mythical record implies is that he who has the power to "open the world to human life" is also he who is "the father of human life". He is the quintessential patriarch. It seems possible as well that when a Maya personage is seated upon a c/ian/serpent/sky-seat, he is also understood as having a like-in-kind relationship to the original patriarch who by raising the sky-seat, thereby enabled the rise of the sun, the engendering of humanity and the origin of human society. As one might expect of an authority figure, the Maya heroes {"Hunal-Ye or First Father" and "The Paddlers") seem to have had the supernatural power to raise the sky for enabling human existence, the patriarchal power to father all humanity, and the sociopolitical power to establish a type of political command consisting of three equally significant Seats-of-Authority. These creative acts served to order the universe, the polities, the communities, and the households. The general patriarchal tone of these origin myths argues that the symbolism of the seat as the raised-up-sky was suitable for the legitimation not only of kingly 6 8 Here too the atlanteans hold up a sky-seat, referenced in this case with cloud symbols. 127 authority, but of that of lesser faction leaders as well. One example of the representation of such a seat demonstrates this association as well as drawing together several of the points made in preceding arguments. The seat is represented on a wall-panel installed about AD 770 at Lax Tunich (Figure 17), a secondary site subordinate to, and therefore in the sociopolitical realm of, Yaxchilan. The seat is carved to represent the bicephalic monster, supported by two atlantean figures posed to associate them with the mythological pauahtun-ob. Yet these and other aspects of the relief are also historical. The design of the seat represented on the panel includes a hieroglyphic inscription documenting the dedication of an actual seat, as on the Structure 9N-82 seat at Copan. The two atlanteans, identified in their accompanying texts as pauahtun-ob, also have personal names and administrative titles: that on the left is a sahal, on the right is an ahaw of undetermined status. That these pauahtun deities, shown as supporters of the serpentine sky-seat, also carry titles normally associated with human 'supporters' of sociopolitical leaders, seems intended as another means of legitimating sociopolitical roles. The figures shown sitting on this wak-chan-kun, or raised-up serpent/sky-seat, are the Yaxchilan ruler Chel-Te and the local patriarch of Lax Tunich, whose subordinate rank is also given as sahal. One of the intended messages conveyed via this panel seems to have been that subordinates were seen as supports for patriarchal authority. While each seat carving or representation will have a specific agenda intentionally made relevant to the circumstances and moment of its production, I would argue that the Lax Tunich scene interrelates several widespread notions surrounding Maya Seats-of-Authority and particularly those associated with 128 serpentine rather than feline imagery. Specifically, the seat's serpent-sky band, and atlantean images are designed to relate a specific form of a universalized myth of creation, whereby the patriarch seated thereon becomes the creator: he who ordered the cosmos; he who engendered humanity; and he who organized human society. This image is but one example of the legitimation of historical acts by recourse to creation mythology through the temporary suspension of current time and revisitation of the primordial era. The Lax Tunich panel may be read as an unusually graphic example of this linkage whereby primordial and current time are made to seem simultaneous and equivalent. Burial Seats and Burial Boxes The decoration of the serpent/sky-seat to reference the primordial creative act that separated sky from earth, thereby ordering the cosmos, conflates primordial time with present time. There is also evidence of a second and more immediate form of temporal conflation involving the relationship between the living and the dead, represented by the associations between seats and burials. On the one hand, at many sites including Copan, burials of faction-leading patriarchs were conventionally placed under an important seat, in the floor in front of the seat, or in the stair or patio in front of the dominant residence.69 As Tilley demonstrated in his study of the patriarchal ideologies common in agrarian societies 6 9 In her Masters Thesis of 1991, Annabeth Headrick discussed the "Osario" structure at Chichen Itza (dated to AD 842), describing the multiple burials found in a cavern directly below the only seat in the building. Similar associations of seats and burials have been recently noted: a burial directly in front of a seat is reported at Aguateca (Inomata and Triadan, in press), and a burial in the plaza, aligned with the entrance and centrally positioned seat at Dos Pilas (Palka 1995). 129 with lineage based economy and residence (i.e. the "lineage mode of production"), the relationship between living and deceased patriarch would have been ongoing and would have functioned as an important means for legitimating authority, as through the transference of sacred knowledge (Tilley 1984). McAnany also emphasizes that this relationship between a living patriarch and his lineal ancestors is necessary to legitimate the inheritance of important resources, including agricultural lands and orchard trees. The relationship between the patriarch and deceased ancestors, like that between the patriarch and creator/founders, demonstrates the conflation of administrative and supernatural authority. On the other hand, this legitimating relationship between the seat and burial was graphically articulated on several occasions through the conflation of seat and container. One example was found in Burial 195 at Tikal, presumed to have been the tomb of the 22 n d Tikal ruler known as "Animal Skull", who died in the early seventh century. Ancient flooding of the tomb allowed recovery, through the medium of dental plaster, of several wood sculptures, including four inscribed and painted sides of a wooden "box" which may have served, during the ruler's lifetime, as a portable seat, and which was eventually used to support his deceased body.70 Each side of the wooden box-seat was carved with an iconic scene of a highly ornamented male, presumably Animal Skull, holding the double-headed serpent bar, perhaps in celebration of the period-ending ritual recorded in the accompanying inscription. A smaller wooden seat, once decorated with stucco glyphs, was also found in this chamber. Although excavations at Tikal have yielded exceptionally This tomb and contents are illustrated in W.Coe (1990:fig.198). 130 significant material objects, I suspect that their preservation, and not their production, is atypical. A few investigators report findings of buried "stone boxes" containing skeletal remains (Smith 1955:75, fig.9b). Indeed, the most famous Maya sarcophagus is a stone box containing the remains of Pakal, a ruler of Palenque who died in AD 682. 7 1 Pakal's sarcophagus, however, is not merely a stone box: it has an overhanging cover as well as the trapezoidal shaped legs typical of Maya slab seats at Palenque and other sites in the Usumacinta region (this burial box and chamber are illustrated in Figure 72). On the ends of the top surface of the sarcophagus cover, and repeated on the trapezoidal legs, are busts of named figures with the ranks of sahal and ah k'u-hun, a parallel to the Lax Tunich representation of a sky-seat supported by a sahal and an ahaw as pauahtun-ob. The planetary band is carved on the long sides of the top surface of Pakal's sarcophagus, connecting these subordinates. Furthermore, the Maya artist inscribed this sarcophagus with the word kuch, which we have seen is a standard term for seat, but which also can mean "storage container" according to post-conquest dictionaries. The Palenque artists appear to have elaborated the homophony of kuch for both seat and container, as did artists in other media such as ceramic sculpture.72 One example 71 See Scheie and Miller (1986:282-285) for an extensively illustrated discussion of this sarcophagus and the tomb chamber. 7 2 Dictionary entries for kuch also imply "container for carrying something in", suggesting the probability that a triple-entendre was intended: kuch as burial storage chamber, kuch as Seat-of-Authority for the deceased ruler, and kuch as the container for the ruler's "journey" through the underworld realm. 131 from the region of Copan is a large ceramic box-shaped container, the lid of which is modeled as a two-headed serpent seat supporting a sitting patriarch (Figure 73).7 3 Beyond these conflations of seat, container, and burial, it should be noted that many types of seats are frequently found in Maya burials. I refer here both to stone slabs on circular supports, and to wooden litters that were constructed as furnishings for tombs, and also to several instances at Tikal where bedrock has been carved to create an underground room mirroring audience chambers of the regular world with a seat across one wall, fronted by an aisleway (as illustrated in Figure 27). Additionally, the types of Early Classic burial seats excavated during the past five years in Copan's Central Acropolis appear very similar to the Late Classic Seats-of-Authority excavated in Copan's suburban zones 7 4 Although apparently not carved, they are stone slabs elevated on circular legs, much like actual seats (actual seats as illustrated with three versions from Copan's suburbs: Figures 2, 18, 67). And, just as so many Late Classic vase-painting depictions of Seats-of-Authority show ceramics stored in niches beneath the seats, so too are ceramics found stored beneath the burial seats in Copan's Early Classic tombs. Similarly, an Early Classic cylinder tripod vessel decorated in piano-relief technique is interpreted by Barbara and Justin Kerr (1995:personal communication) as representing a corpse, wrapped in knotted cloths, and displayed on a stone slab seat (Figure 74, right side). What is 73Tedlock illustrates an example of a contemporary lidded box seat that he describes as a shrine belonging to a Highland Maya lineage group, and notes that only the head of the patrilineage that owns this shrine may pray to and burn copal in it (1985:256). ''National Geographic Magazine. Vol. 192 No. 6 (December 1997:68-93) is the most accessible source that features these Early Classic tombs and illustrates the burial Seats-of-Authority (with ceramics cached beneath them) excavated by Robert Sharer and Ricardo Agurcia. 132 not clear, due to the conceptual conflation of seat and burial and to the presence of seats in both locations, is whether these burial rites depicted on ceramics are to be understood as taking place in the residence or in the tomb. Interiors of most elaborate tomb-chambers do allow standing room for six or eight persons. Ideological Messages Following Tilley, who has related how ideology may often be disguised in iconographic allusions to ancient history, I suspect that serpentine images on Maya seats (as on the Structure-82 Seat) were employed as references to past events of transformation and change that legitimized hierarchically designated authority and the persons who occupied Seats-of-Authority. That is, the serpent icon may signal to viewers that the seated personage is presumed to have survived the transformational journey through the supernatural serpentine "vehicle" as initially undertaken by his ancestral, and since deified, patriarch. It appears that the representations of bicephalic "transformational vehicles" of Copan's city-centre (Structures 10L-16, 10L-22, and 10L-11) are egually represented in the outlying districts (Structures 9M-18, 10K-4, 8N-11, and 9N-82). What differs primarily is the relative scale. 7 5 My understanding of the mediating role of ideology derives from Tilley's discussions of the manipulative aspects of archaeological "documents" of history (1989). Tilley describes material objects as one of the ways that dominant groups 1 5 As Brumfiel notes, we should expect similarities among monuments erected by various faction leaders as their aim is not to present something different - but something "better" (1994). 133 are able to promote their worldview as THE worldview of an entire society, including its subordinate groups. Thus to understand a society as a whole, we have to first understand the ideology that enables ongoing dominance. In his explanation of how dominating groups tend to employ popularly received historical metaphors, Tilley quotes George Orwell: "He who controls the past controls the future" (Tilley 1993:416). It seems that by employing serpentine imagery in reference to origin mythology, Maya members of the dominating group were able to present their elevated status as an expected aspect of a social hierarchy, naturalized by its patriarchal associations, and normalized by its symbolic repetition of an assumed event (albeit, mythical) of social genesis. Thus it appears that Maya texts and images publicized events of the far distant past as validations of their present and manipulations of their future. It is characteristic of factionalism that the ostentatious displays and their attendant ideological messages are directed towards at least three different audiences for different legitimating agendas: 1. to the subordinates in the same faction, as a means of legitimating authority through ability to control supernatural/ancestral powers as well as to appropriate the surplus wealth and to apportion the labour; 2. to the supraordinate, or ruling authority, as a means of maintaining or perhaps augmenting position in the hierarchic polity administration; and 3. to the peers, those patriarchs of other factions involved in competitive displays through the use of similar imagery and practices. 134 So far, the use of serpent and related imagery on the Copan seats has been associated primarily with the ideological message of supernatural legitimation of authority directed by faction leader to subordinates. The messages that relate a faction leader, such as Mak-Chanal, for whom the Structure 9N-82 seat is dedicated, to the supraordinate ruler Yax-Pas, would include shared imagery appearing also on seats and other architectural decorations in the Copan Acropolis (serpent, bicephalic monster, planetary band pauahtun-ob)76 as well as the text that identifies Mak-Chanal as the Ah K'u-hun of Yax-Pas. The hieroglyphic text and imagery of the Copan seats would also have operated in tandem to communicate a message of both group participation, and distinction, to the peer group composed of other faction leaders. While the texts and images share a complex of associations illustrated by their shared themes, each is unique. And the lavishness of their decoration could easily be explained as attempts by competing faction leaders to outdo each other. Cohodas (1996:623) argues that Maya rulers may have encouraged such competition among subordinates, acting as gatekeepers in the rewarding of titles and administrative positions. Applying Cohodas' suggestion to the competitive display represented by the Copan seats might then indicate competitive factional disunity and participation in the status quo, in contrast to Fash's interpretation that it represents cooperative factional unity and consequent destruction of the status quo. 7 6 In addition to the interior doorway and seat of Structure 10L-22 at Copan featuring a bicephalic serpent, and the serpentine maw of Structure 10L-16, I refer also to the monstrous skeletal bicephalic serpent sculpted to decorate the roof of Structure 10L-11 in Copan (Scheie and Freidel 1990:326). 135 The iconographic discussion presented in this chapter argues against Fash's interpretation that Mak-Chanal appropriated heretofore restricted emblems of royalty for his seat decoration, and that he and associated faction leaders did so for reasons that were wholly new to the Maya: a dissolution of dynastic authority.77 Instead, I have shown that the imagery, of these seats is consistent with symbolic relationships between seating, authority, and cosmogony represented throughout the Southern Lowland Maya area, and throughout the span of the Classic period. Further, these representations, both as actual seats and as represented in painted ceramics, figurines, and relief panels, are in no way limited to polity rulers (k'ul-ahaw-ob), but instead are frequently associated with subordinate faction leaders, both those possessing titles such as sahal and ah-k'u-hun, and those without such titles. 7 7 Fash wrote, "I would suggest that they [hieroglyphic benches in the suburbs of Copan] provide evidence for a visible weakening of centralized rule just before its demise" (1991:160). 136 CHAPTER SIX: Epigraphic Analysis of Four Copan Seats The purpose of this chapter is to explain the inscriptions on the suburban Copan seats to the extent that they can presently be interpreted, and to use this information in comparison on the one hand, with the stories that have been told about these seats, and on the other hand with similar inscriptions on other seats as well as other types of Maya objects. I wish to note here that epigraphic analyses of Maya hieroglyphic passages will always be "work in progress." Full decipherment still eludes scholars, but while once only a handful of scholars were interested in the task of transcribing Maya hieroglyphic texts, there are now two or three dozen epigraphers, whose investigations are producing new readings and translations so rapidly that publication cannot keep pace with them. Syllabic readings of hieroglyphic signs, translations, and transliterations included in this chapter are thus the product of many years and many Mayanists. The most recently published discussions of texts from inscribed seats in the Copan Valley may be found in Scheie and Looper (1996), Grube and Martin (1998), and are incorporated in the epigraphic syntheses to follow. I will indicate which interpretations are my own. The Structure 9N-82 Seat ("Scribes" Seat7 8) Linda Scheie's drawing of the entire seat is reproduced as Figure 2a. A glyph by glyph decipherment of the Maya syllables and words, together with my 7 8 Although this seat (and other seats-of-authority) is commonly termed a "bench", for reasons outlined above I employ the word "seat" instead. 137 transliteration to English syntax is included as Figure 2b, with the text marked as A1 through P1. It should be noted that in texts such as this wherein each glyph-block is composed of a pair of almost intertwined glyphic signs, the glyphic sign on the left is designated as "a" while that on the right is "b". As is customary, the text begins with the date of the first event (at A1a-B1 b of Figure 2b), in this case equivalent to July 10, 781. The verbal compound at C1 includes an image of the Maya deity known as God N (C1a), and having the syllabic value of hoy, or "to dedicate". Tucked next to the deity (at C1b) is a logographic form of thatched roofing and a step, used by the Maya to convey the meaning of "house" or "structure". Following this date, verb and object, is the subject of the sentence at D1a-b, whose personal name, Mak-Chanal, may be translated as "Covered/Covering-Sky Place". The lengthy set of glyphic compounds E1a through H1b refer to the parents of the protagonist, each of whom is associated to the subject by what Mayanists refer to as a "relationship glyph". At E1a for example are signs for the syllable yal, that functions as "child of the mother". The personal name of that woman normally follows next, which in this case (at E1b) may be read as Lady Sun Flower. The relationship between the two men is established at F1a, stating that Mak-Chanal is the successor of the person referred to in the glyph-blocks following at G1 and H1. Although it is clear that the two glyph blocks (F1a-H1b) are references to the male assumed to be Mak-Chanars father, the texts at G1 and K1 have been problematic because of uncertainty as to the intended form of the suprafix on G1a. If that suprafix is read as u, or "his", then the image of God N at glyph-G1a (similar to 138 that at C1a), suggests that this glyph begins a new clause, referring to a second dedicatory event. However, I will argue that if the suprafix is perceived as a na, or "house", the glyphic compound may not be verbal. That the glyph at G1b, efz, also refers to the setting up of directional seats 7 9 suggests that the glyphic compound at G1 may instead be adjectival, describing Mak-Chanafs predecessor as like-in-kind to Mak-Chanal: one who had the authority to dedicate houses. Since a major aspect of Maya dedicatory events (ancient and contemporary) is the sprinkling of incense, the hieroglyphic reference to a ch'a-hom, or "incensor" at Glyphs H1a and H1b support this notion. Although I remain uncertain of how to interpret the compound at 11,1 here suggest that it may refer to Mak-Chanafs predecessor as a deceased and buried (mu-ka) personage. This is followed at J1 with the title ko-xop-ahaw, in reference to that predecessor. The final phrase begins at K1, with another reference to the dedication of Structure 9N-82 introduced at C1 as a relation between event and actor. While that compound employs the verb hoy, the glyphs at K1 record the event as a ts'ik-ba, a "first-setting-up"80 or first-consecration undertaken by Mak-Chanal, the person named at L1 as a k'u-hun. Here the possessed form of that title (with the prefix of u or "his"), functions as a relationship glyph indicating that the k'u-hun is subservient to the possessor. The glyphic blocks M1 through P1 identify that "possessor" or overlord as the ruler of the Copan polity. It should not go unnoticed that the personal names either bestowed upon, or chosen by, that ruler serve to associate 7 9 Forms of this verb occur in the 819-Day Calendrical Count in reference to the "placing" or "setting up of directional seats. 8 0 This is the same verbal compound employed one hundred years earlier, in AD 682, by the 13 t h ruler of Copan to record dedications for the seats called "Altars H and I". 139 him with the quintessential patriarchial deity whose separation of sky and earth enabled the dawning of mankind. The ruler's name is read as Yax-Pas, Chan-Yat, k'ul-xukpi-ahaw, katun-chak-te and may be translated as: first-dawning, sky-piercer, the sacred-Copan-lord, a 20-year warrior.81 In summary, the inscription records Mak-Chanats dedication of the structure in a ritual that likely involved bloodletting with the burning of incense. The only other information provided involves Mak-Chanafs relationships, as the son of the mother, Lady Sun Flower, and the presumed father, the deified house-dedicator and incensor, and as the ah-k'u-hun82 of the Copan ruler, Yax-Pas. I would like to emphasize that in this inscription, the Copan ruler is being related to an individual, not to an event. Hence there is no justification for Scheie's and Freidel's narrative description of the dedicatory event as involving Yax-Pas: "the patriarch dedicated his new house while the king participated in those rites with him. Yax-Pas, the polity ruler, honored the Sepulturas patriarch by participating in rituals on his home ground" (1990:329). Scheie and Freidel continue this narrative with an elaboration of Fash's hypothesis, arguing that in allowing the subsidiary lord to have such an elaborate seat, "Yax-Pas thus gave away some of the hard-earned royal charisma of his ancestors to honor the head of this lineage" (1990:330). None of this narrative is supportable by the presently available evidence. There is, indeed, no evidence of 8 1 I wish to note here that my decipherment and interpretation of the glyph blocks F1 through P1 differ somewhat from others (for example, Scheie and Freidel 1990:329-330, or Houston and Stuart, referenced in Fash 1991:162-165). 8 2 For a history of the decipherment and translation of ah-k'u-hun as "he of the sacred books" see Ringle (1988), Stuart and Houston (1994), Scheie and Grube (1997:42). Debate continues. Mayanists generally accept Nikolai Grube's reading of ya-k'u-hun(a) meaning "His [here, the Copan Ruler's], keeper of the Sacred Books" (Grube 1995, in Grube, and Martin 1998:42). 140 political intrigue or impending disaster. Rather, the evidence does indicate an interactive alliance between the polity patriarch Yax-Pas, and the community patriarch Mak-Chanal. The Structure 9M-18 Seat ("Harvard" Seat) When in 1977 Harvard archaeologist Richard Leventhal uncovered a seat in a suburb of Copan he recognized that although located only a couple of hundred metres from the 9N-8 Group, this Group 9M-18 was clearly that of a different faction leader (Leventhal 1983:55-76). This seat has come to be known as the "Harvard" Seat and its translation has been partially worked out by Scheie and Freidel (1990:328-29) and David Stuart (1992:180). I include here their interpretations synthesized with some of my own suggestions. Scheie's drawing of this seat is illustrated in Figure 18, with transcriptions and transliterations included. The text begins at A1, B1 with a first date 11 Manik, 10 Pax (equivalent to December 1, 777). Although the first event (recorded at C1 8 3) is still undeciphered, it is clear from patterns of Maya syntax that the third verb (at 11) also occurred on December 1, 777. At glyph D1 the reader is informed that the event being foregrounded by additional story-line details84 occurred before the special period-ending event that would be celebrated a few years later (3 years, 1 month, and thirteen days later), on November 28, 780 (as per glyph blocks E1 and F1). The glyph at G1a records the period-ending celebration event (the act of 831 suggest the verb at C1 recorded the completion, finishing, or carving of this seat that is elsewhere at Copan recorded as preliminary to the dedication rites (see Altar 41, Figure 59). 141 scattering incense), and the person who did that scattering is identified at G1b and H1 as Yax-Pas, the contemporary ruler of the Copan polity. The reader now arrives at the fore-grounded and featured event of December 1, 777: the ftoy/dedication (at 11) of yo-fof/someone's house (J1). That house-owner is described (K1 through M1) as the k'u-hun of, not the reigning lord, Yax-Pas, but rather the previous ruler - the 15 t h ruler of the city. That is, the lineage lord of the 9M-18 community is recording his family's history of being associated with royalty. That his position as k'u-hun continued through a succession of polity rulers suggests that, contrary to being a threat to central authority, patriarchal lords in distant communities were valued mediators between urban and suburban zones. In summary, like the 9N-82 seat, the Harvard Seat also records dedicatory rites performed by a local lord, who is also an ah-k'u-hun of Yax-Pas. Although it has also been assumed that Yax-Pas was also present at dedicatory rites in this residential group, the hieroglyphs do not support that assumption. Interpretations that Yax-Pas performed some or all of these rites has been based on an inaccurate assessment of Maya inscriptional syntax in which phrases connecting different personages do not necessarily refer to connecting events. It should not be inferred from records with multiple clauses and multiple actors, that all actors were involved in all events. The hieroglyphic text of the Harvard Seat speaks to three issues: 1. an alliance (perhaps administrative) between the patriarch of Group 9M-18 and the sacred ruler of Copan; 2. a dedication ceremony celebrating the erection or 841 refer here to linguist, Kathryn Josserand's, explanations of the workings of Maya narrative speech and text (Josserand et al. 1985). 142 refurbishing of the suburban patriarch's house; and 3. a like-in-kind relationship of dedicatory rites of the suburban community and dedicatory rites of the urban centre. The Structure 10-K4 Seat ("El Grillo" Seat) As seen in my parsing of the text for this seat (Figure 67), while no date was recorded and some of the glyphs carved on this seat remain undeciphered, it is clear that the text includes a common dedicatory verb (A1), adjectival glyphs describing an object as (a lordly or "finely" carved Sky-Sun-Seat (B1, C1, and D1) and then a compound naming the object as u-chum-ibrh\s/her seat" (E1). The text also names the owner of the seat (F1 through 11) as a youthful, and supernaturally sanctioned lord, but does not mention a known ruler. That this seat was discovered in a small three-structure patio-complex just outside the main acropolis indicates it may have belonged to yet another lineage patriarch, who like his peers, also employed cosmological, patriarchal, and sociopolitical referents to reinforce and reproduce the status quo. It should be noted that Grube and Martin (1988) have proposed that other versions of the final glyph may be read as "stonecutter" - suggesting for this situation that the factional patriarch who owned and dedicated this seat, may also have carved it. The Structure 10L-22 Seat ("Temple 22 Doorway") As may be seen with the decipherments and transliteration included as Figure 66, much of this text is still problematic. However, what epigrapher David Stuart has clarified (circa 1994, see Scheie and Looper 1996:122), is that the seat-step of 143 Structure 22 on the Copan acropolis identifies a ritual commemorating the first katun-anniversary (approximately 20 years) of the inauguration of the ruler Wa-Xak-La-Hun-U-Bah-Kawil, (sometimes referred to as "18-Rabbit"), thus dating it to AD 715. That information is conveyed via the opening date and event at A1 and B1 that seem to be repeated at P1. The parentage of the protagonist is recorded by the glyphic compounds C1, D1, and E1 (referring to his mother), and F1, G1, H1 (referring to his father). The glyph at 11 is a compound often uniting two persons in a supraordinate/subordinate relationship, but while the titles recorded at J1 and K1 are titles carried by the protagonist's (18-Rabbit's) predecessor ("Smoke-lmix"), the glyphs at L1 and N1 do not seem to name him. While a reading of the compound at M1 is uncertain at this time, it may introduce the dedication of Structure 10L-22 (recorded at N1, 01) as a oo/on/great, u-ba/7/happening. As seen in the illustrations of the entire doorway sculpture of Structure 10L-22 (Figure 65) the emphasis on cosmogonic themes, as for the seats of Groups 9N-8 and 9M-18, is also employed in the central city core. Here however, in contrast to the patriarchal seats just analyzed, this acropolis seat seems to record not only the dedication of the structure (and thus the step-seat as well) but highlights also the anniversary of its owner's accession as patriarchal ruler of the polity. Conclusion None of the sculptured seats in Copan's subsidiary residential groups record events of political accession or rituals celebrating a competitively elevated status for the local patriarchs. Instead, texts carved on seats in the suburbs of Copan 144 emphasize the "dedication" of the seat or structure, and carefully include the honorific of sociopolitical alliance with the polity patriarch. Certainly, similar situations of stable interactions between polity rulers and their subsidiary rulers of surrounding sites are well known to Mayanists. Examples include: the urban core of Palenque and one of its suburbs known as Group IV whose lord was a sahal and half-brother of the ruler (Villela 1993a); the urban core of Yaxchilan and three of its known subordinate sites, La Pasadita (Mathews 1990, personal communication), Site R, and Lax Tunich (Scheie and Mathews 1993); the city of Piedras Negras and one of its subordinates, El Cayo (Mathews 1989 personal communication); and the urban core of Tikal and its suburbs known as the North Group, the 7F Group, and the 6C-XVI Group (Haviland 1985, Garcia-Urrea 1987). In each of these cases, subsidiary patriarchs who were faction leaders erected monuments recording their accomplishments, their titles, and sometimes their genealogy. There are records of raids, wars, deaths, and captures at these sites, but again, none of these events are said to be against the polity rulers. Instead, they carefully record their relationship with the supraordinate ruler. Additionally, in light of the several instances of deliberate destruction of "enemy-sculpture"85 the fact that historical records survive at these subsidiary sites might be evidence in itself of continuing, and reasonably stable, interrelationships between other major and minor sites in addition to those in the Copan Valley. Furthermore, nothing in the inscription on the Structure 9N-82 Seat suggests competition with the ruler, and this accords with the iconographic interpretation. The 8 5 See Houston (1993), Jones and Satterthwaite (1982), Mathews (1988), Satterthwaite (1936,1937), Sharer (1994) for descriptions of ancient damage and 145 events at Copan, just prior to and following the turn of the eighth century, as currently narrated (and generally accepted as well) are thus fitting the bits of fact into a preconceived framework of the "rise and fall of Maya civilization" (Thompson 1954). By contrast I find that the nature of both the iconographical programmes and the inscriptions fit very well with established Maya conventions concerning dedications and relationships between non-ruling dedicators and their supraordinate rulers. Consequently, rather than perceiving the Structure 9N-82 Seat as evidence of a destruction of the sociopolitical system, I believe instead that it evidences a factional status quo. defacements of carved monuments. 146 CONCLUSIONS Maya Seats and Maya Seats-of-Authority In each of the five preceding chapters, Maya seats were viewed through a different lens not only to learn more about them but also to use these objects as a means of testing different models of Classic Maya socio-political organization, and to judge whether a specific group of seats from outlying residences at Copan might have represented a threat to that organization. For each type of analysis, the characteristics of these seats seemed best explained by Brumfiel's Model of Factional Competition, rather than by Models of Class Conflict that have until now been applied. As shown through discussion of the corpus of Maya Seats (Chapter Two), there are a great number of independent, dependent, and intervening variables which together determine the parameters of a study set. With such considerations in mind, the dataset of more than a thousand occurrences of seats and their representations is proof in itself of the importance and prevalence of seats and seating in ancient Maya society. Field reports published in earlier years of Maya studies yielded a surprising number of actual seats, remnants of probable seats, and remnants of stucco and paint that once decorated the seats. To ensure a representative dataset, research for this project gathered evidence from several other media that collectively convey a sense of the enormous significance of seats in ancient Maya society. The dataset demonstrated that these seats, multifunctional furniture in ancient Maya residences, are almost omnipresent. Based on their form 147 and architectural context, these seats appear to represent a social hierarchy within Maya residential complexes that culminates in the Seat-of-Authority occupied by the patriarch. That seat was an object that created, manipulated, and reinforced the relative status of whomever was seated upon it, and of course, of those who were not. The residential group, through its hierarchic or vertical organization containing a wide range of status positions, corresponds to Brumfiel's definition of a faction as opposed to a class, in which the social positions would be more horizontally defined and much more narrowly limited. The fact that patriarchs of many different residential groups, in the Copan area and elsewhere, used these seats of authority and often had them embellished and formally dedicated, argues against an Autocratic Model of restricted royal prerogatives and argues for a Model of Factional Competition. The prevalence of distinct fashions for seat construction and decoration, limited in both time and space, further argues for the competitive nature of display by dominant members of these factions. Furthermore, in terms of Cohodas' Articulation Model, these competing factions form an institutional arrangement that includes the royal lineage but which stands apart from a more abstract notion of the polity, articulated predominantly through stela erection and the period-ending ceremonies they commemorate. The political importance of these Seats-of-Authority is further demonstrated by their representation in other media. Of these, the largest number of representations derive from ceramic paintings that show patriarchal faction leaders of many and sometimes unstated titles occupying these seats in audience with 148 subordinate family members or visitors from other factions, presiding over tribute payments, sacrificial events, victory celebrations, or heir designations. These ceramic paintings relate closely to the findings concerning actual seats, both in the variety of construction methods and decorations and in certain regional preferences. They also suggest the importance of perished seat cushions and seats of wood, as well as vanished stucco, paint, and textile decorations for preserved masonry seats. They clearly deny any direct correlation between the status of a faction patriarch and the elaboration of his seat. Instead, the range of variation of these seats appears homologous with the range of variation not only of the persons occupying those seats, but also of the quality of the ceramic vessels on which such representations appear. These homologous ranges demonstrate that patriarchs need not lead the richest or most powerful factions to enable their use of Seats-of-Authority or painted vases. The great variation in socio-economic position of such factions thus argues for a kin-based structure in which the institution of patriarchy is a prominent form of political organization. Analysis of the hieroglyphic expressions underlines the intimate association between patriarchal authority and seating on multiple social levels, from the untitled patriarch of a small faction to the ruler of a large polity with its "emblem" glyph labeling him as a k'ul-ahaw, thereby again arguing against a Model of Autocratic Restrictiveness, and arguing for a Model of Multi-leveled Factional Competition. Iconographic analysis pinpoints the symbolic means by which the patriarch's status, including control of the faction's labour and surplus, is legitimated through ritual and mythology. Decorations on seats, and particularly those from Palenque and Copan, 149 construct an identification between the living patriarch and his deceased ancestors all the way back to the founder of the lineage and mythological creators of the present world-order who initially raised the sky-seat. To approach the seated patriarch was to approach a space made sacred by the bodies of ancestors interred below or nearby, as well as by the cosmogonic decorations on the seat. Furthermore, the serpent imagery alludes to the concept of one's elevated status deriving from a sanctioned rite of passage that was ritualized by the Maya as a transformational journey through the body of a supernatural and sacred serpent. From all these analytic viewpoints, the decorated Seats-of-Authority from Copan's outlying residences appear to fit comfortably within long-standing Maya conventions, rather than articulating a dangerous new agenda. The architectural context of these seats of authority, symmetrically planned in the central room of the dominant residence, may be found throughout the lowland Maya region. Their participation in a localized fashion for certain construction and decoration methods is also typical, and may be compared with fashions for carved slab seats and seat-backs at Tonina, Palenque, and Piedras Negras, or slab seats with multiple warrior-atlanteans at Chichen Itza. The particularly restricted temporal context of the fashion for carved seats at Copan argues for a flurry of factional competition that in turn suggests the availability of a sizeable surplus to invest in the requisite labour. Iconographic programmes emphasizing serpent imagery including the bicephalic monster and planetary band, and the sky-supporting pauahtun-ob, are likewise paralleled at other sites including Southern Lowland's Palenque and Northern Lowland's Chichen Itza, and appear to illustrate widespread creation 150 mythology. Their inscriptions, in documenting the dedication rituals for the structure and identifying the dedicator's political relationship to the ruler, are also paralleled in seats and other objects throughout the Southern Lowlands and through the entire duration of the Classic period. Finally, the fact that the Sepulturas district, second in size and monumentality at Copan only to the acropolis group, also contains among the longest histories of prominence (judging from the lavish Pre-Classic tomb), neatly fits Tourtellot's Developmental Cycle Model and its correlation between the age of a faction and its size and importance. If anything, these seats and the contexts in which they are found are strikingly conventional. Consequently there is no evidence internal to these objects, or derived from comparison to other objects, which would suggest that they represent a challenge to and ultimately the destruction of dynastic authority. The inapplicability of the Autocratic Model is thus forcibly demonstrated by the unsupportability of the explanations it engenders! Collapsing "The Collapse" Using the Factional Competition Model to interpret these seats, and circularly also using the seats to support the application of such a model, has another important ramification that reverberates through present-day scholarship and political relationships in its critique of the search for an explanation for the "Maya Collapse." Maya Studies, from their origins in an era of evolutionism, have been an ongoing search for the causes of "calamitous collapse". Imperial-based evolutionary theory demands a linear growth from barbarism to civilized society, and assumes 151 that since progress is paramount, decline is therefore disastrous (Tainter 1988, 1996). The cessation of growth in ancient Maya centres and the apparent dispersal of high-density populations were thus interpreted as evidence of cataclysmic failure and societal collapse, and thereby of the limitations of non-European peoples. At the same time, the assumed righteousness and benevolence of European kings served to automatically absolve their Maya counterparts of blame for the failure of their ancient New World kingdoms. The archetypal analogy, of divine and autocratic kings juxtaposed against their nameless commoners, set in place during the nineteenth century, has informed the greatest proportion of Maya studies; we have been searching ever since for the causal factors that are presumed to have "destroyed" the Maya. As Tainter explains, this quest is understandable: "Sensing that our own collective future is in jeopardy, we are hungry for historical analysis to help us imagine the direction events might take" (1996:2). The theory that greedy nobles overstepped their rightful place in Maya society and brought it crashing down is merely one of many explanations for the collapse of Classic Maya polities that have assumed some pathological failure inherent in the Maya sociopolitical system. Brumfiel's model, and the Maya evidence that supports it, instead suggests that factional competition is central to the construction of this type of class-less society, and that it can be expected to generate lavishly competitive visual displays in ritual, architecture, costume, etc. All of these traits characterize Classic Maya remains over the duration of at least a millenium, rather than appearing suddenly and tragically at the end. My analysis does not "solve" the "mystery" of the "Maya Collapse", but argues that we should not be looking with 152 superior eyes for some weakness in this exotic "other," especially since any weakness we claim to find is likely to be used to criticize and disempower the living Maya of today. Some Suggestions for Moving Forth Historians are now calling into question the persuasiveness of such master narratives as the pathology of "Maya Collapse", and it is time now for Mayanists to become more skeptical of the strategies embedded in our scholarly debates, to rethink the underlying assumptions of our models that have been largely unexamined for decades. Good scholarship not only questions old interpretation but seeks to establish the greater plausibility of different interpretations by reexamining the old databases, by looking at data that have been "out there" but ignored, and by adding new data. This is quite different from challenging old interpretations on the basis of their lack of fit with a new ideology or a failure to justify a new political agenda (Goodenough 1996:48). It is probably time to rethink ambitions of filling in the blanks to form seamless narratives of the past. Mayanists have given the last 150 years to questioning the history and context of ancient "material culture," the production of these artifacts. Now seems the time to turn to questioning the ancient reception of artifacts, to questioning the interrelationships that contributed to the nature of ancient Maya society. Advances in Maya epigraphic studies during the last two decades have dramatically reshaped our perceptions of ancient Maya society, particularly in the realm of sociopolitical organization. This is in part a result of the growing number of 153 persons interested in building a career in this relatively new field. On-going decipherments of glyphic inscriptions provide continual insights into the processes of state formation and change, and in many instances serve to validate prior hypotheses based on other criteria. Unfortunately, while epigraphic projects are definitely enlightening their value is limited by their limited occurrences and sometimes preconceived notions of their content. However, what Mayanists have learned from contextual analyses of images and inscriptions is transferable to images without accompanying inscriptions. To further this, collaborative investigations for all areas of Maya material production are essential. As I have shown in this work, one of the critical aspects of such studies is to involve a comprehensive dataset. At present there are no sizeable repositories of collected photographs, maps, drawings, and such. While certainly every researcher is responsible for building an appropriate dataset, I think this is one area where collaborative groundwork would have immediate and significant results for the future of Maya studies. I see a need for a shared database of ancient Maya material objects similar to what has been recently advocated for researches of Southwestern United States History. As anthropologist Inga Calvin has noted (1998), situations cannot be compared accurately unless the same measurements and standards are employed. She suggests that while pursuing individual research questions, Mayanists could simultaneously collect standardized data that could be used for recognizing social patterns throughout the Maya area. 8 6 8 6 As director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI), I note here that the Foundation's Board of Directors has already taken steps in this direction by ensuring prompt dissemination of current project reports via easily accessible electronic means. It is also entirely possible that Calvin's proposal 154 Given the enormous amount of data presently available (and not available), it is a fantasy to believe that any one researcher can be all-knowing. As Taylor advised so many years ago, it is the integration of collective knowledge about a diverse database that assures a Conjunctive Approach to studies of the ancient Maya (Taylor 1948). As larger numbers of Mayanists are moving toward collaborative projects and investigating a greater range of topics, I think it imperative that we do take advantage of our potential by learning to consider all interpretations of the interdisciplinary teams as open to question. However, Maya Studies will not achieve the level of fully Conjunctive Studies until they rely on the collective contributions from the many associated disciplines. By "collective contributions" I refer not only to mutually supported interpretations, as has heretofore often been the practice, but also to conflicting interpretations. Collaborative projects need to enlarge their scope of debate rather than merely seek a unified voice as they have tended to do. As several cultural studies critiques have pointed out during the last decade, given the absence of truth and proof we must be able to generate multiple interpretations along with a strong intention of altering our frameworks when they cease to provide reasonable explanations for the available data and/or when a larger dataset no longer supports an initial interpretation. In this study of ancient Maya seats I have demonstrated how various models influence and even control Mayanist discourse. I have shown as well how studies for the creation of a master bibliographic database, noting where site reports and curated artifacts are accessible to researchers, may become an extension of FAMSI's purview. FAMSI has been designated as the eventual housing and distributive centre for a number of privately held visual archives. 155 incorporating a broader database, analyzed in various manners, including archaeological indications, iconographic considerations, and hieroglyphic implications, can produce different interpretations of the same set of archaeological materials. And I have advocated a methodology in which occurrences of a particular nature are always compared with consistent standards both within the mesh of their local origin and concurrently within the mesh of their widespread relationships. 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Highlands & Pacific Slope Acasaguastlan Iximche Mixco Viego Utatlan Zaculeu Cahyup Chutixtoix Cotzumalhuapa La Iglesia Rabinal Aguacatlan Cnama Chuitinamit Nebaj Ceren Kaminaljuyu Kaminaljuyu 3 >, rj 5 c E 2 Southern Lowlands Tayasal Las Tinajas Blue Creek La Pasadita Puerto Barrios Cancuen Lax Tunich Sacul Chinik'inha Machaquila Seibal Comalcaico Motul de San Jose Site R Dos Pilas Nakbe Tamarindito El Cayo Nakum Tikal El Chicozapote Nimli Punit Tortuguero Emiliano Zapata Palenque Uaxactun Holmul Pomona Uxul Itzan Xultun La Mar Xunantunich Altar de Piedras Negras Sacrificios Pusiiha Bonampak Tonina Calakmul Ucanal Caracol Xultun Lacanha Yaxchilan Naranjo Bejucal Copan El Peru Yaxha Northern Lowlands Mayapan Santa Rita Tulum Acanceh Cozumel Balamku Jaina Becan Manos Chacmultun Nakum Champoton Oxkintok Chicanna Pechel Chichen Itza Peor es Nada Chochola Rio Bee Coba Uxmal Edzna Xcalumkin Ek Balam Xtampak S.R. 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Jose 0 0 7 6 Uxmal 1 15 0 0 Nakbe 0 0 5 0 Yaxuna 10 0 0 0 Naranjo 2 5 5 4 Xcalumkin 0 2 5 6 Palenque 21 20 0 11 Xtampak, S.R. 1 0 0 0 Piedras Negras 12 19 0 4 Chenes Capstone 0 1 0 0 Pomona 0 1 1 0 Puerto Barrios 1 0 0 0 Pusiiha 1 0 0 1 Quirigua 10 4 0 22 Seibal 21 0 0 1 Site R 0 0 0 1 Tamarindito 1 0 0 3 Tikal 115 11 30 21 Tonina 14 4 0 5 Tortuguero 1 0 0 1 Uaxactun 7 0 6 1 Uxul 0 5 0 0 Xunantunich 2 3 0 4 Yaxchi lan 25 9 2 20 Yaxha 0 1 0 1 Nimli Punit 0 2 0 0 Sub- to ta ls 124 56 39 9 456 151 392 179 96 21 22 3 T O T A L S Actual Seats 676 Sculptural Reps 228 Ceramic Reps 610 Hieroglyphic Reps 191 D A T A S E T T O T A L 1705 Table 3 Dataset with Regional Sources (1705 Items) f •3 o 1 CD o CD cn CO cu u> SZ (O •s > . o. ca 1 1 CD U) cu CO X 111 "8 ra l a -i n o CO oo co i n -3 - C D CD co r - r-- T -o) in a T - CN CN * * * (A a> ? ra x LU a> " c _ i - CD > CO J D CL C L C E 2 cu o , H CL _- E CO o I— O o " O x> L CD 0-o c 3 CO sp i s oQ L> 1 CD CU CO <p CO w C Q _ CO CO T— CN CD O T— cn CO eb 0 0 sz CO o ^ CO X CO o CD CO CN -o T -o T - m o * c cu m O T— 2: i n i n Q * ^ "cu <*> c co I C L ^ = w CD u) .a co .1 & ^ cu 2 < CO :ii 1/1 T 3 CO Q_ D_ LU x: o c cu ca P P CD o c _ o |o> I-® s S "I 10 (0 0- > C N o !c Q . „ . 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CO N o E & UJ cj 3 CO "o _cu " I CD H CD 3 cr c CD ~ CO CL CD in - ci ^ E o O CO ^ CO i n M TJ- in i n 3 o co" CJ co 2 c - 3 co o a> . 3 o a> CD co C N i n o o ) \r T <a- m isi ^  * r ~ -q- o co co C N ( D h - O C N C N f ^ ^ ^ CO CO 1 s 2 <o CO T 3 CL CO E co c5„ro c •CO, c^ O CD & sz o g |cS < c _ CO £ CD O CD o m T 3 CD co CD </) CD " O o c CO co. = 1 X 5 co 2 O "3 O ™ a> m co oo O) C O O 0 0 i n a> oo C D •<- T - ••r co ^ ^ ^ ^ CD C CO 0. jx. as a. E cn c o CO co cu ca x CD - CO 2 coS p I Sg a u a o n o O .Si CL < 'S 3 " CO — .2, c | 1 3 ,2 [ B sz CO * 2.2 < 8 7: CD CN O CNJ to CL E co CO cu E o CO c CO E "co CD CD > CO I— o o CD Q o CO CD "S "i_ CO > _CD co 203 Figure 1. Carved seat (2.3 x 6.65 m.) from central room of Structure 9N-62 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781 (Fash 1991:161, fig. 98). 204 Figure 2a. Carved seat from central room of Structure 9N-82 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie 1989b:108). 205 11 Ahaw (9.17.10.11 T c h ' e n .0-Ju ly 10, 781) hoy yo-to-to (dedication of his house) Mak-Chanal (personal name) F1 u-tz'a-ka (and successor of) u-mu-ka-? (his deceased one?) u-ts'ik-ba (his first consecration or dedication) Yax-Pas (Dawning Sun) yal, Na-Ah-Kin (child of the mother, Lady-Sun-Flower) na-hoy-"etz" yo-kel(o) (the house-dedicator (the "enter-er") and "constructor") J I ko-xo-p(a) (title) L1 ya-k'u-hun (his keeper of sacred books) chan-yat (sky-perforator) k'ul-Xukpi-ahaw katun chak-te (sacred Copan lord) (20-year warrior) personal name & titles of Copan's 16th ruler -igure 2b. Transcription and transliteration of text from carved seat of Structure 9N-2 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan, AD 781 (modified after Scheie 1989b: 108). 206 corridor room* • culpturvd bench B . j t -~1_ 9 N - 8 2 WEST 9 N - 8 2 CENTER 9 N - 8 2 EAST 0 2m Figure 3. Plan of Structure 9N-82 centre, Sepulturas District, Copan (Webster 1989:23, fig. 10). 207 Figure 4. Structure 9N-82 centre facade, Sepulturas District, Copan. Drawing by Barbara Fash (Webster 1989:66, fig. 64) 208 Figure 5. Plan of Plaza A, Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan (Webster 1989:16, fig. 7). 209 Figure 6. Plan of Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan (Webster 1989:10, fig. 5). 210 Figure 7. Group 9N-8, Sepulturas District, Copan. Reconstructed perspective (Hohmann 1995:12-13, fig. 4). 211 ure 8. Map of Copan Valley (modified, after Webster 1989:fig. 3). 212 Figure 9. Map of Mesoamerica (modified, after Leyenaar and Parsons 1988:20). Chochola ^ ^° Acanceh >^*Cnicncri Mcyopon Yaxura Uxma! Gulf of Mexico Northern Lowlands Reoion /".Convjlcalco . Tortugotro I •=Tt Pslentjue > L _ ^ ~ • ' ' • < r- ' -»'~"°j , "~V Chinik'iho S.^ E | Chico'zcpott Nakbt Uaxactun HolmuM Tikal* I - Piedras Ncoras ^ \ Noronio / -EICovo^ . Motul de S. Jolt - 1 yXunontumch • . . . . LoPasod.to ^ j ^ , -. r-'\ \ Southern Lowlands fteaion Lo Mar . . • ^ - Y i u k i l i n Si leR Lax Tunich 'y Pacific Ocean Figure 10. Map of Maya Area showing geographic divisions between Northern Lowlands, Southern Lowlands, and Highland/Coast regions (modified, after Schuster and Slayman 1997:centerfold). 214 Figure 11. Tikal, Central Acropolis, plan of structures visible in the Late Classic period (Harrison 1970:9, fig. 1). 215 Figure12. Tikal, Central Acropolis, plan of structures visible in the Late Classic period with location of visible seats indicated (modified, after W. Coe 1970:54-55) 216 Figure 13. Piedras Negras Throne 1, found in Structure J-6, AD 785; a) reconstruction of original position (Morley 1946:369, fig. 39); b) photograph of the seat, now in Guatemala's National Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K4899). 21 Figure 14. Seat and Tablet (Oval Tablet) from House E of the Palace at Palenque, Late Classic period. A two-headed jaguar seat is depicted on the cushion-shaped tablet, while supports of the actual and later seat are decorated with atlantean pauahtun-ob. Drawing by Merle Greene Robertson (Robertson 1985:fig. 92). 218 Figure 15. Tablet of the Slaves, Group IV, Palenque, with captives and supernaturals functioning as seats, AD 730. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Freidel et al 1993:307, fig. 7:14). 219 M N Figure 16. Lacanja Lintel 1, with a zoomorphic stone seat, AD 746. Drawing by David Stuart (Bassie-Sweet 1991:168, fig. 57). 220 Figure 17. Lax Tunich Panel 4, showing two men of local importance as pauahtun-ob supporting a hieroglyphic seat, late eighth century (photographer unknown). 221 12 Ahaw 8 Pax (9.17.10.0.0- November 28, 780) ch'a-hom Yax-Pas (when he would scatter incense - New Dawn) Chan-Yat-Ahaw (sky-perforating lord) iwal-hoy yo-to-ti(i)u ya-k'u-hun (when it was (his house) (his keeper of the dedicated) sacred books) kak-yi-p(i)-ya (personal name of the 15th Copan ruler) Chan-Kawil-Xukpi-Ahaw (sky-deity, Copan lord) Figure 18. The "Harvard Seat" from Structure 146, Group 9M-18, Copan, AD 777; a) drawing by Barbara Fash (Baudez 1994:234, fig.112a); b) decipherment of hieroglyphic text. 222 Figure 19. Detail from Palace Tablet, found in House AD in the Palace at Palenque, Mexico, AD 721. From left to right the "tubular" seats are decorated with jaguar, shark, and serpent heads. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986 115 fig.11.7). 223 LEFT SIDE FRONT front head serpentine body rear head RIGHT SIDE Figure 20. Bench 1 (the "9.11. Seat") from the Subterranean Galleries in the Palace at Palenque, AD 652. Drawing by Merle Greene Robertson (Robertson 1985fiq 423). ' y ' 224 Figure 21. Dais-type seats at Chichen Itza, Terminal Classic period; a) Northwest Colonnade fronting Temple of the Warriors (Morris 1931: facing page 71); b) Mercado gallery, line sketch by Tatiana Proskouriakoff (Proskouriakoff 1963a: 104). Figure 22. Fixed stone masonry seats showing common placements within a room. Drawings by Colleen Fuller (after Harrison 1970). 226 Figure 23. Varieties of detached slab/support seats. Drawings by Colleen Fuller and the author; a) drawing of seat decorated with textile and tassels, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K2784); b) drawing of seat with cantilevered sides, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5453); c) drawing of seat with trapezoidal supports, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5353); d) drawing of slab seat with supports and seat-back, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K6294). Figure 24. Drawing of Late Classic Maya cylinder vessel showing male personages on slab-and-support seats with cantilevered edge. The left cushion is marked as balam or jaguar, that on the right is marked with a sign for chan or sky/serpent (Robicsek 1978:121, fig. 136). 228 Figure 25. Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing slab-and-support seat with cantilevered edge and decorated with a hieroglyphic text (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K5109). 229 Figure 26. Varieties of portable stone seats. Drawings by Colleen Fuller; a) drawing of seat in saurian form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5455); b) drawing of seat in jaguarian form, after drawing of wall-panel by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986:114, fig.ll:5); c) drawing of seat in circular form; d) drawing of seat in rectangular form. 230 Figure 27. Varieties of perishable seats. Drawings by Colleen Fuller and the author; a) drawing of palanquin or litter in box-form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K767); b) drawing of litter in sling-form, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K5534); c) drawing of interwoven mat; d) drawing of seat formed of three stones; e) drawing of jaguar pelt covered, stuffed cushion, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K1670); f) drawing of seat formed of lashed long-bones, after photo by ©Justin Kerr (K1440). 231 Figure 28. Late Classic wooden bench found in cave in Maya Mountains, Belize, 1995. Photograph courtesy of K. Prufer. 232 Figure 29. Drawings of Burial 116 in Structure 5D-1-1st (Temple I) at Tikal, ca. AD 730, showing deceased ruler laid out on mat atop a masonry seat occupying the full length of the chamber; a) profile drawing (W. Coe 1990:259); b) plan drawing (W. Coe 1990:fig. 260). 233 Figure 30. Plan drawings of Middle Classic tombs at Kaminaljuyu with burials on portable wooden seats; a) Tomb A-lll (Kidder et al. 1946:56, fig. 23); b) Tomb B-1 (Kidder et al. 1946:68, fig. 31). 234 Figure 31. Two Late Classic Maya cylinder vessels; a) showing permanent masonry seat with fabric-upholstered seat cushion (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1559); b) showing a stone masonry seat in upper left, a wood-frame litter in lower left, and a fringe decorated niche-seat backed by a large stuffed cushion on the right (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K767). 235 Figure 32. Plan of Group 5G-1, Tikal, as example of Late Classic Piaza Plan 2 arrangement with shrine at right and residential structures left and below (Becker 1971:235). Figure 33. Atlantean-supported seat, Temple of the Warriors, Chichen Itza, presumably removed from Temple of the Chacmool when it was largely buried inside this later edifice, Terminal Classic period (Morris 1931 .facing page 37). Figure 34. Late Classic Maya Vase from region of Tikal, showing figure on seat decorated with a woven mat design and textile fringe (photo by ©Justin Kerr K2697). Figure 35. Late Classic Maya vase, probably from site of Motul de San Jose, showing seat with lashed pole construction (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K680). 239 Figure 36. Lintel 3 from Temple IV, Tikal, showing ruler on wooden drum-shaped seat with back-cushion, positioned on large portable seat with lashed carrying-poles depicted in cross section in the lower corners, AD 746. Drawing after Jones and Satterthwaite 1982 (Sharer 1994:170, fig. 4:20). 240 Figure 37. Lintel 3 from Temple I, Tikal, showing both the portable drum-shaped seat and the larger portable platform, ca. AD 730. Drawing by John Montgomery (Freidel et al. 1993:311, fig. 7:18). 241 Figure 38. Late Classic Maya Vase painting illustrating zoomorphic stone seat and pelt-upholstered cushion seat. Detail of drawing by Persis Clarkson (Hellmuth 1976:fig. 29). 242 Figure 39. Late Classic Maya Vase found in Burial 196 at Tikal, ca. AD 750, showing pelt-upholstered lower and back cushions (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K8008). 243 Figure 40. Late Classic Maya Vase from Department of Alta Verapaz found in Ratinlinxul, showing portable litter of woven plant materials and jaguar-pelt covered cushion being carried by an attendant (Morley 1946:plate 88b). 244 Figure 41. Late Classic Maya Vase from Department of Alta Verapaz showing ruler on permanent masonry seat topped by a plaited mat, a cushion, and a back-support with an attached zoomorphic face. The first of three glyphs directly in front of the seated figure may be read as ah-ku-nal or "he of the seat place". 245 Figure 42. Late Classic Maya ceramic miniature seat with seatback. Seat is decorated with incised text and a draped jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K6294). 246 Figure 43. Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing male persons on pelt-upholstered seat cushion, beneath a planetary band (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1669). 247 P^CJgrapn © Justin Ker  File no. Kl 183 Figure 44. Middle Classic Maya Vase painting showing old God D on planetary band seat with serpent heads (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1183). 248 A B C D E F G H I J S.D. Figure 45. Drawing of Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing planetary band seat with old God D (Robicsek 1978:137, fig. 152). God D is named in the hieroglyphic text as chan-kun-winik or sky-seat-man (glyphs G,H, I, J). 249 Figure 46. Drawing of Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing old God D on planetary band seat with cross-hatched snake markings and serpent head. Drawing by L. Crocker (Hellmuth 1976:fig. 5). Figure 47. Late Classic Maya Vase from Motul de San Jose showing seat and cushion draped with jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1452). 251 Figure 48. Late Classic Maya Vase from Motul de San Jose showing seat in the form of a rampant jaguar. The glyphic text records a ceremony at/on/with a balam-kuch or jaguar-seat (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1439). Figure 49. Two Late Classic Maya Vases from Naranjo showing old God L on a zoomorphic jaguar seat (photos by ©Justin Kerr, a) K2796, b) K7750). 253 Figure 50. Seats of three stones; a) detail from drawing of a Late Classic Maya vase painting (after Robicsek 1978:154, fig. 167); b) drawing of top of altar from Caracol (drawing by Nikolai Grube). Figure 51. Zoomorphic stone seat in form of crocodile, known as Altar T at Copan, AD 783 (Scheie and Freidel 1990:332, fig. 8:18). 255 Figure 52. Late Classic Maya Vase painting showing pelt-upholstered cushion seat atop zoomorphic stone seat (detail from photo by ©Justin Kerr, K1398). 256 Figure 53. Bar or tube-shaped seats from the Late Classic period; a) drawing of detail from relief panel in Temple of the Sun at Palenque (Robicsek 1978:59, fig. 56); b) drawing of Altar U, Copan (Scheie and Freidel 1990:333, fig.8:19); c) drawing of detail from Palace Tablet, Palenque (Scheie and Miller 1986:115, fig. 11.7). 257 Figure 54. Late Classic Maya Vase showing fixed masonry seat topped with plaited mat, a fabric-upholstered cushion marked with the glyphic sign for seat (po), and a seat glyph (kuch) in woman's name text (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K2573). 258 Figure 55. Bonampak Panel 1, AD 683; a) drawing of panel (Scheie and Miller 1986:116, fig. 11.8); b) analysis of inscription. Figure 56. Zoomorphic jaguar seat in Lower Temple of the Jaguars, Chichen Itza, Terminal Classic period (Cohodas 1978:fig. 11). 260 Figure 57. Tikal Stela 20 with zoomorphic jaguar seat behind ruler, erected AD 750. Drawing modified after Jones and Satterthwaite 1982 (Sharer 1994:172, fig. 4:21). 261 Figure 58. Two-headed zoomorphic jaguar seat from platform in front of Palace of the Governors, Uxmal, Terminal Classic period, ca. AD 900 (Stierlin 1963:cover). 262 Figure 59. Seat known as Altar 41 (CPN82) at Copan, AD 771; a) drawing of one side by Anke Blanck (Baudez 1994:142, fig. 67a); b) drawing of glyphs on opposite side and end by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Freidel 1990:332, fig. 8.18). 263 Jaguar Figure 60. Drawing of incised bone from Burial 116 at Tikal, ca. AD 730, with kuch-seat glyph as title in naming text (modified, after Scheie and Miller 1986:270, fig. 7.1). 264 Figure 61. Drawing of re-used Olmec jadeite plaque, incised by the Maya with an image and text referring to an accession ca. AD 199. Drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Miller 1986:119-120, plates 32a, 32b). 265 K'ul-Cab-Ahaw K'ul-Chan-Ahaw (Yaxchilan) Figure 62. Emblem Glyphs, components and examples; a) Tonina (from Monument 29, drawing in Graham and Mathews 1996:Vol,6, Pt.2, 6:75); b) Tonina (from Monument 104, drawing in Graham and Mathews 1996:Vol.6 Pt.2, 6:127; c) Caracol (from Structure 1, drawing by Inga Calvin); d) Machaquila (from Stela 3, drawing by Ian Graham in.Bassie-Sweet 1991:46, fig. 10); e) Seibal (from Stela 8, drawing in Graham 1996:Vol.7, Pt.1, 7:27); f) Calakmul (from Copan Stela A, drawing in Scheie 1989b:95); g) Yaxchilan (from Lintel 3, drawing in Graham and von Euw 1977:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:17). 266 Figure 63. Drawing of Lintel 25, Yaxchilan, AD 726, showing bicephalic serpent in scene of ancestral contact (Graham and von Euw 1975:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:55). 267 Figure 64. Drawing of Lintel 13, Yaxchilan, late eighth century, showing figure emerging from bicephalic serpent monster in connection with birth of ruler (Graham and von Euw 1975:Vol.3, Pt.1, 3:35). 268 1 te1 • rr 3T s Figure 65. Doorway of Structure 10L-22, Copan, AD 715, showing two pauahtun-ob in atiantean posture supporting bicephalic monster over doorway to inner room; a) drawing by Annie Hunter (Maudslay 1889-1902:plate 12); b) drawing by Linda Scheie (Freidel et al. 1993:151, fig. 3:21). 269 5 Lamat (9.14.3.6.8 March 23, 715) tz'uk-ah (was finished) (mother's names?) (unknown-chan) wi-katun (my 20-years) (unknown) u-ba (his being) u-ch'ab (child of father) (unknown) yal (child of mother) ni-chan (captor of?) (unknown) (unknown) na-k'ul (sacred woman) k'awil (deity) (unknown-ah) u cah-i (with) ni-chan-ih (unknown) M1 chan-te-ahaw (sky/serpent wood lord) bolon k'awil (great deity) bolon-u-ba (great, his being) (in the) 14th katun (unknown) u-hoy (its dedication) ko-xop (unknown) ahaw (lord) (unknown) (unknown) yo-to-t(o) (his house) ah-chum-in (he, the seated one) ch'a-hom (incense scatterer) (on the day) 5 Lamat (1 Zip) (9.14.3.6.8) Figure 66. Decipherment of text from seat-step of Structure 10L-22, Copan, AD 715 (modified, after Maudslay 1902:plate 14). 270 A1 B1 C1 D1 (dedication of) (the lordly) (carved) (sun-sky seat) E1 u-chum-ib (his seat) k(e)an-chan chok (personal name of seat owner) (the youthful heir) 11 yax-ffijl-kab (of the first sacred territory) (he, the supernaturally sanctioned one) Figure 67. "El Grille- Seat" (CPN999) from Group 10K-4, Copan; a) drawing of site of seat (Baudez 1994:234, fig. 112b); b) decipherment of text. wak-nal chan-kun Figure 68. Early Classic Maya cylinder tripod vase naming serpent as wak-nal chan-kun or raised-place sky-seat (Deletaille and Deletaille 1992:223, fig. 117). 272 Figure 69. Early Classic Maya Lidded Cache vessel from Structure 5D-46, Tikal, showing serpent named wak-chan or raised sky; a) photo by ©Justin Kerr (K8009); b) detail of text (Scheie and Mathews 1998:78, fig.2:18). 273 a jaguar tz'am-kun water tz'am-kun serpent tz'am-kun Figure 70. Comparison of three varieties of seats, from left to right seats with iconic references to jaguar, shark/water, and serpents; a) glyphic references to seats on Quirigua Stela C (drawings by Matthew Looper in Scheie and Looper 1996:92); b) three seated figures on Palenque Palace Tablet (drawing by Linda Scheie in Scheie and Miller 1986:115, fig.11.7). 274 Figure 71. Monument 2 (92 x 120 cm) from Portrero Nuevo, Preclassic Olmec, ca. 1200-900 B O Photograph by Nadine Markova (Trueblood 1992:20). 275 Figure 72. Cutaway drawings of Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque, AD 683, showing stairway and tomb of Pakal; a) drawing modified after Alberto Ruz Lhuillier (Robertson 1983.fig.12); b) drawing by Linda Scheie (Scheie and Freidel 1990218 fig.6:1b). 276 Figure 73. Ceramic box/seat (40 x 40 x 30cm) from Copan site or region decorated with bicephalic serpent and jaguar pelt (photo by ©Justin Kerr, K2991). 277 Figure 74. 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