Buondì a tutti,
oggi riporto altre curiosità sul serpente piumato nella cultura Maya.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kukulkan ("Plumed Serpent", "Feathered Serpent") is the name of a Maya snake deity that also serves to designate historical persons. The depiction of the feathered serpent deity is present in other cultures of Mesoamerica. Kukulkan is closely related to the god Q'uq'umatz of the K'iche' Maya and to Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs. Little is known of the mythology of this pre-Columbian deity.
Although heavily Mexicanised, Kukulkan has his origins among the Maya of the Classic Period, when he was known as Waxaklahun Ubah Kan, the War Serpent, and he has been identified as the Postclassic version of the Vision Serpent of Classic Maya art.
The cult of Kukulkan/Quetzalcoatl was the first Mesoamerican religion to transcend the old Classic Period linguistic and ethnic divisions. This cult facilitated communication and peaceful trade among peoples of many different social and ethnic backgrounds. Although the cult was originally centred on the ancient city of Chichén Itzá in the modern Mexican state of Yucatán, it spread as far as the Guatemalan highlands.
In Yucatán, references to the deity Kukulkan are confused by references to a named individual who bore the name of the god. Because of this, the distinction between the two has become blurred. This individual appears to have been a ruler or priest at Chichen Itza, who first appeared around the 10th century. Although Kukulkan was mentioned as a historical person by Maya writers of the 16th century, the earlier 9th century texts at Chichen Itza never identified him as human and artistic representations depicted him as a Vision Serpent entwined around the figures of nobles. At Chichen Itza, Kukulkan is also depicted presiding over sacrifice scenes.
Sizeable temples to Kukulkan are found at archaeological sites throughout the north of the Yucatán Peninsula, such as Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Mayapan.
Kukulkan at Chichen Itza during the Equinox. The famous descent of the snake March 2009
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ChichenItzaEquinox.jpg
In Yucatec the name is spelt K'uk'ulkan and in Tzotzil it is K'uk'ul-chon. The Yucatec form of the name is formed from the word kuk (feather) with the adjectival suffix -ul, giving kukul (feathered), combined with can (snake), giving a literal meaning of "feathered snake".
Kukulkan and the Itza
Kukulkan was a deity closely associated with the Itza state in the northern Yucatán Peninsula, where the cult formed the core of the state religion. Although the cult of Kukulkan had its origins in earlier Maya traditions, the Itza worship of Kukulkan was heavily influenced by the Quetzalcoatl cult of central Mexico. This influence probably arrived via Chontal Maya merchants from the Gulf Coast of Mexico. These Chontal merchants probably actively promoted the feathered serpent cult throughout Mesoamerica. Kukulkan headed a pantheon of deities of mixed Maya and non-Maya provenance, used to promote the Itza political and commercial agenda. It also eased the passage of Itza merchants into central Mexico and other non-Maya areas, promoting the Itza economy.
At Chichen Itza, Kukulkan ceased to be the Vision Serpent that served as a messenger between the king and the gods and came instead to symbolise the divinity of the state.
El Castillo in Chichen Itza served as a temple to Kukulkan. During the spring and fall equinoxes the shadow cast by the angle of the sun and edges of the nine steps of the pyramid combined with the northern stairway and the stone serpent head carvings create the illusion of a massive serpent descending the pyramid.
After the fall of Chichen Itza, the nearby Postclassic city of Mayapan became the centre of the revived Kukulkan cult, with temples decorated with feathered serpent columns. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, the high priest of Kukulkan was the family patriarch of the Xiu faction and was one of the two most powerful men in the city.
The cult of Kukulkan spread as far as the Guatemalan highlands, where Postclassic feathered serpent sculptures are found with open mouths from which protrude the heads of human warriors.
Ballcourt marker from the Postclassic site of Mixco Viejo in Guatemala. This sculpture depicts Kukulkan, jaws agape, with the head of a human warrior emerging from his maw.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mixco_Viejo_ballcourt_marker.jpg
Stories are still told about Kukulkan among the modern Yucatec Maya. In one tale, Kukulkan is a boy who was born as a snake. As he grew older it became obvious that he was the plumed serpent and his sister cared for him in a cave. He grew to such a size that his sister was unable to continue feeding him, so he flew out of his cave and into the sea, causing an earthquake. To let his sister know that he is still alive, Kukulkan causes earth tremors every year in July.
A modern collection of folklore from Yucatán tells how Kukulkan was a winged snake that flew to the sun and tried to speak to it but the sun, in its pride, burnt his tongue. The same source relates how Kukulkan always travels ahead of the Yucatec Maya rain god Chaac, helping to predict the rains as his tail moves the winds and sweeps the earth clean.
Among the Lacandon Maya of Chiapas, Kukulkan is an evil, monstrous snake that is the pet of the sun god.
^ Read & Gonzalez 2000, pp. 180-2.
^ Read & Gonzalez 2000, p. 201.
^ Freidel et al 1993, pp. 289, 325, 441n26.
^ a b c d e f g h Sharer & Traxler 2006, pp 582-3.
^ a b c Sharer & Traxler 2006, p. 619.
^ Miller & Taube 1993, p. 142.
^ a b c d Read & González 2000, p. 201.
^ Freidel et al 1993, p. 325.
^ Freidel et al 1993, p. 478n60.
^ Freidel et al 1993, p. 289.
^ a b Yucatec-English Dictionary at FAMSI
^ Schele & Freidel 1990, pp. 394-5.
^ Sharer & Traxler 2006, p. 598.
^ Schele & Freidel 1990, pp. 361-2.
^ Read & González 2000, p. 202.
^ Gómez 1995, p. 57.
Freidel, David A.; Linda Schele and Joy Parker (1993). Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path. New York: William Morrow & Co.. ISBN 0-688-10081-3. OCLC 27430287.
Gómez, Ermilo Abreu (1995). Leyendas y consejas del antiguo Yucatán. Mexico City: Tezontle. ISBN 968-16-4889-7. OCLC 38991657. (Spanish)
Miller, Mary (1999). Maya Art and Architecture. London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-20327-X. OCLC 41659173.
Read, Kay Almere; and Jason González (2000). Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology. Oxford: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-340-0. OCLC 43879188.
Schele, Linda; and David Freidel (1990). A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-11204-8. OCLC 24501607.
Sharer, Robert J.; with Loa P. Traxler (2006). The Ancient Maya (6th (fully revised) ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9. OCLC 57577446.
Aveni, Anthony F. (2001). Skywatchers (Rev. and updated edn. of: Skywatchers of ancient Mexico, 1980 ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-70504-2. OCLC 45195586.
Carrasco, David (1982). Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophecies in the Aztec Tradition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-09487-1. OCLC 0226094871.
Graña-Behrens, Daniel; and Nikolai Grube (2006). "Glossary". In Nikolai Grube (ed.). Maya: Divine Kings of the Rain Forest. Eva Eggebrecht and Matthias Seidel (assistant eds.). Cologne, Germany: Könemann. pp. 428–439. ISBN 978-3-8331-1957-6. OCLC 71165439.
Milbrath, Susan (1999). Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars. The Linda Schele series in Maya and pre-Columbian studies. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75225-3. OCLC 40848420.
Miller, Mary; and Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05068-6. OCLC 27667317.
Kukulkan at the base of the west face of the northern stairway of El Castillo, Chichen Itza
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Head_of_serpent_column.jpgFONTE:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Q'uq'umatz (alternatively Qucumatz, Gukumatz, Gucumatz, Gugumatz, Kucumatz etc.) was a deity of the Postclassic K'iche Maya. Q'uq'umatz was the feathered serpent god of the Popol Vuh who created humanity together with the god Tepeu. Q'uq'umatz is considered to be the rough equivalent of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, and also of Kukulkan of the Yucatec Maya tradition. It is likely that the feathered serpent deity was borrowed from one of these two peoples and blended with other deities to provide the god Q'uq'umatz that the K'iche' worshipped. Q'uq'umatz may have had his origin in the Valley of Mexico; some scholars have equated the deity with the Aztec deity Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, who was also a creator god. Q'uq'umatz may originally have been the same god as Tohil, the K'iche' sun god who also had attributes of the feathered serpent, but they later diverged and each deity came to have a separate priesthood.
Q'uq'umatz was one of the gods who created the world in the Popul Vuh, the K'iche' creation epic. Q'uq'umatz, god of wind and rain, was closely associated with Tepeu, the god of lightning and fire. Both of these deities were considered to be the mythical ancestors of the K'iche' nobility by direct male line. Q'uq'umatz carried the sun across the sky and down into the underworld and acted as a mediator between the various powers in the Maya cosmos. The deity was particularly associated with water, clouds, the wind and the sky.
Kotuja', the K'iche' king who founded the city of Q'umarkaj, bore the name of the deity as a title and was likely to have been a former priest of the god. The priests of Q'uq'umatz at Q'umarkaj, the K'iche' capital, were drawn from the dominant Kaweq dynasty and acted as stewards in the city.
Etymology and symbolism
The name translates literally as "Quetzal Serpent" although it is often rendered less accurately as "Feathered Serpent". The name derives from the K'iche' word q'uq', referring to the Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno, a brightly coloured bird of the cloud forests of southern Mesoamerica. This is combined with the word kumatz, meaning "snake". The male Resplendent Quetzal boasts iridescent blue-green tail feathers measuring up to 1 metre (3.3 ft) long that were prized by the Maya elite. The blue-green feathers symbolised vegetation and the sky, both symbols of life for the ancient Maya, while the bright red feathers of the bird's chest symbolised fire. Together, this combination gave a profound religious symbolism to the bird. The snake was a Maya symbol of rebirth due to its habit of shedding its skin to reveal a fresher one underneath. Q'uq'umatz thus combined the celestial characteristics of the Quetzal with the serpentine underworld powers of the snake, giving him power over all levels of the Maya universe. These characteristics also indicated a sexual duality between his masculine feathered serpent aspect and his feminine association with water and wind. This duality enabled the god to serve as a mediator between the masculine sun god Tohil and the feminine moon goddess Awilix, a role that was symobolised with the Mesoamerican ballgame.
In ancient Maya highland texts Q'uq'umatz is strongly associated with water, which in turn is associated with the underworld. The K'iche' are reported to have believed that Q'uq'umatz was a feathered serpent that moved in the water. In the Annals of the Cakchiquels, it is related that a group of highland Maya referred to themselves as the Gucumatz because their only salvation was said to be in the water. The Kaqchikel Maya were closely linked to the K'iche' and one of their ancestors, Gagavitz, was said to have thrown himself into Lake Atitlán and transformed himself into the deity, thus raising a storm upon the water and forming a whirlpool.
Among the K'iche' Q'uq'umatz not only appeared as a feathered serpent, he was also embodied as an eagle and a jaguar, he was also known to transform himself into a pool of blood. The deity was sometimes represented by a snail or conch shell and was associated with a flute made from bones. As well as being associated with water, Q'uq'umatz was also associated with clouds and the wind.
Q'uq'umatz, the sun and the ballgame
Q'uq'umatz was not directly equivalent to the Mexican Quetzalcoatl, he combined his attributes with those of the Classic Period Chontal Maya creator god Itzamna and was a two headed serpentine sky monster that carried the sun across the sky. Sculptures of a human face emerging between the jaws of a serpent were common from the end of the Classic Period through to the Late Postclassic and may represent Q'uq'umatz in the act of carrying Hunahpu, the youthful avatar of the sun god Tohil, across the sky. After midday, Q'uq'umatz continued into the west and descended towards the underworld bearing an older sun. Such sculptures were used as markers for the Mesoamerican ballgame. Since Q'uq'umatz acted as a mediator between Tohil and Awilix and their incarnations as the Maya Hero Twins Hunahpu and Ixbalanque, the positioning of such ballcourt markers on the east and west sides of north-south oriented ballcourts would represent Q'uq'umatz carrying the sun to the zenith with the east marker carrying Hunahpu/Tohil in its jaws, while the west marker would represent the descent of the sun into the underworld and would be carrying Ixbalanque/Awilix in its jaws.
No ballgame markers are known from the heart of the K'iche' kingdom and investigators such as Fox consider it significant that these images of Q'uq'umatz carrying the sun are found in the eastern periphery facing the underworld due to the use of the ballgame in mediating political conflict.
The various Feathered Serpent deities remained popular in Mesoamerican folk traditions after the Spanish Conquest but by the 20th century Q'uq'umatz appeared only rarely among the K'iche'. A tradition was recorded by Juan de León that Q'uq'umatz assisted the sun-god Tohil in his daily climb to the zenith. According to De León, who may have gathered the information from elders in Santa Cruz del Quiché, the feathered serpent gripped Tohil in his jaws to carry him safely up into the sky.
The Popol Vuh
In the beginning of the Popol Vuh, Q'uq'umatz is depicted as afloat in the primordial sea with Tepeu, wrapped in quetzal feathers. Nothing yet existed, only the sea at rest under the sky. Soon Q'uq'umatz and Tepeu discussed the creation of man and it was decided between them to raise the earth and create mankind. The gods spoke the word "Earth" and the earth was formed as if from a mist. They then called forth the mountains from the water and the mountains rose at their command. Forests of pine and cypress then sprung up among the newly formed mountains and valleys. Q'uq'umatz was pleased with their collaborative creation of the earth and thanked the other gods that were present. The gods created animals such as the deer, the birds, pumas, jaguars and different types of snakes. They instructed each animal where it should live. The gods then commanded that the animals should give them praise and worship them. However, the animals could not speak and simply squawked, chattered and roared in their own manner. Q'uq'umatz soon realized that their first attempt at the creation of beings was a failure as they could not give them praise and so they condemned the animals to live in the forests and ravines. Their animals were ordered to live in the wild and to let their flesh be eaten by the ones who will keep the days of the gods and show them praise.
They first formed men of mud, but in this form man could neither move nor speak and quickly dissolved into nothingness. Later, they created men of sculpted wood, which Huracan destroyed as the wooden manikins were imperfect, emotionless and showed no praise to the gods. The survivors were then transformed into monkeys, and sentenced to live in the wild. Q'uq'umatz and Tepeu were finally successful in their creation by constructing men out of maize. Here the first men were formed: B'alam Agab, B'alam Quitzé, Iqi B'alam, Mahucatah. Their sight was far and they understood all.
The Popol Vuh also mentions a historic ruler of the K'iche' who bore the name or title of the deity, probably because he drew some of his power from the god. This title of "Feathered Serpent", was an important title used for historical figures in other parts of Mesoamerica, the personal name of this king was likely to have been Kotuja'. This individual was likely to have been an Aj Q'uq'umatz, or priest of Q'uq'umatz, before he became the Aj pop (king). This king was said to have refounded the K'iche' capital at Q'umarkaj.
Temple and priesthood at Q'umarkaj
In the K'iche' capital city Q'umarkaj the temple of Q'uq'umatz consisted of a circular temple in honour of the deity together with a palace in honour of the Kawek lineage, the ruling dynasty of the city. The only trace of the temple now is a circular impression in the surface of the city's main plaza. The temple was located directly between the temples to the important K'iche' deities Tohil and Awilix, slightly north of the central axis of the temple of Tohil and slightly south of the axis of the temple of Awilix, replicating the role of Q'uq'umatz as mediator between the two deities. From the traces left in the plaza it is evident that the temple consisted of a circular wall measuring 6 metres (20 ft) across, running around a circular platform, with a 1-metre (3.3 ft) wide circular passage between the two. The whole structure probably once supported a roof and there were small stone platforms on the east and west sides of the temple, each about 1 metre (3.3 ft) wide. The temple of Q'uq'umatz must have been completely dismantled very soon after the Spanish Conquest since it is not mentioned by any of the Colonial era visitors, and early drawings of the site show only vegetation where the temple once stood. The tradition of circular temples dedicated to the Feathered Serpent deity was an ancient one in the Mesoamerican cultural region.
The priests of Q'uq'umatz were drawn from an important lineage among the ruling Kaweq dynasty and this was likely to have been a source of power and prestige for the Kaweq. The priests were known as Aj Q'uq'umatz, meaning "he of Q'uq'umatz". The priests of Q'uq'umatz and of Tepeu, his partner in the K'iche' creation myth (the Aj Q'uq'umatz and the Tepew Yaki), also served as stewards in Q'umarkaj and were responsible for receiving and guarding any tribute payments and plunder that were returned to the city. Although K'iche' priests were generally of lower rank than secular officials, the priests of the Kaweq lineages were an exception, and this included the priests of Q'uq'umatz, Tepeu and Tohil.
Carmack, Robert M. (2001a). Kik'ulmatajem le K'iche'aab': Evolución del Reino K'iche'. Guatemala: Iximulew. ISBN 99922-56-22-2. OCLC 253481949. (Spanish)
Carmack, Robert M. (2001b). Kik'aslemaal le K'iche'aab': Historia Social de los K'iche's. Guatemala: Iximulew. ISBN 99922-56-19-2. OCLC 47220876. (Spanish)
Christenson, Allen J. (2003, 2007). "Popul Vuh: Sacred Book of the Quiché Maya People" (PDF online publication). Mesoweb articles. Mesoweb: An Exploration of Mesoamerican Cultures. Retrieved 2010-01-23.
Coe, Michael D. (1999). The Maya. Ancient peoples and places series (6th edition, fully revised and expanded ed.). London and New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28066-5. OCLC 59432778.
Fox, John W. (1987, 2008). Maya Postclassic state formation. Cambridge, UK and New York, USA: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-10195-0. OCLC 297146853.
Fox, John W. (1991). "The Lords of Light Versus the Lords of Dark: The Postclassic Highland Maya Ballgame". In Vernon Scarborough and David R. Wilcox (eds.). The Mesoamerican Ballgame. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. pp. 213–238. ISBN 0-8165-1360-0. OCLC 51873028.
Kelly, Joyce (1996). An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2858-5. OCLC 34658843.
Luhrmann, T. M. (Winter 1984). "Popul Vuh and Lacan". Ethos (Blackwell Publishing and the American Anthropological Association) 12 (4): 335–362.
Miller, Mary; and Karl Taube (1993, 2003). An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27928-4. OCLC 28801551.
Orellana, Sandra L. (Spring 1981). "Idols and Idolatry in Highland Guatemala". Ethnohistory (Duke University Press) 28 (2): 157–177.
Preuss, Mary H. (1988). Gods of the Popol Vuh: Xmucane, Kucumatz, Tojil, and Jurakan. Culver City, California: Labyrinthos. ISBN 0911437258.
McCallister, Rick (2008). "Orden y caos en la literatura indígena mesoamericana" (RTF). Artifara: Revista de lenguas y literaturas ibéricas y latinoamricanas (Torino, Italy: Università degli Studi di Torino: Dipartimento di Scienze Letterarie e Filologiche) (
. ISSN 1594-378X. OCLC 489051220. (Spanish)
Read, Kay Almere; and Jason González (2000). Handbook of Mesoamerican Mythology. Oxford: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-340-0. OCLC 43879188.
Recinos, Adrian (1998). Memorial de Solalá, Anales de los Kaqchikeles; Título de los Señores de Totonicapán. Guatemala: Piedra Santa. ISBN 84-8377-006-7. OCLC 25476196. (Spanish)
Recinos, Adrian; Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley (1954). "Popul Vuh, the Book of the People" (PDF). Los Angeles, USA: Plantin Press. Retrieved 2010-01-24.
Tedlock, Dennis (trans.) (1985). Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Maya Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 067145241X.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maya-Maske.jpg