ear spools


The text follows in English after the Spanish

Aqui está la Teotl Tlazolteotl, como aparece en el Codice Borgia. Tlazolteotl significa “la divinidad de Tlazolli.” Tlazolli es un concepto que incluye desorden, basura, vicio, y sexualidad; es el parte desordenado del cosmos. Ella es la que governa estos aspectos del ser humano; pero a la vez, es la Teotl de purificacion, el temezcal, y parteras. Asi es que ella govierna e inspira desorden, especialmente desorden sexual, tanto como la limpieza del mismo desorden. Tambien se conoce como “Tlaelquani,” o, “Ella quien come basura,” como es ella quien come, y as purifica, nuestro desorden y pecado.

Justo por esto tiene su boca pintada negro, lo cual significa el Tlazolli que ella ha comido. Ella lleva la luna como naricera, como simbulo de la obscuridad y energias femeninas. Sus aretes estan hechos de algodon crudo, lo cual es tambien un simbolo de Tlazolli; desorden, esperando estar tejido y asi ordenado. Lleva en su tocado un huso, porque es ella quien teje nuestros destinos. El huso tambien es un simbulo sexual, como  el hilo va creciendo en el palo, parece al estomago de una mujer que va creciendo con el hijo adentro. Lleva plumas de guacamayo y cuervo, como simbulo del sol en la noche, o sea, el sol muerto que va atrevezando el inframundo. Con frecuencia aparece desnunda, como es la patrona de sexualidad y del parto.

Here is painted Tlazolteotl, as she appears in the Codex Borgia. Her name signifies “divinity of Tlazolli.” Tlazolli is a concept which includes disorder, filth, sexuality, and vice; it is the disordered element in the cosmos. She governs these aspects within humanity. However, she is at the same time the Teotl of purification, the steam bath, and midwives. She thus brings both order and disorder, for as she who inspires disorder in the human heart, only she can purify us. Thus, she is also known as Tlaelquani, “the filth eater,” for she consumes the Tlazolli of which we are formed.

Precisely because she is the “Filth Eater,” her mouth is painted black, darkned with the filth of our Tlazolli which she has consumed. She wears the moon as a nosering, which waxes and wanes like a pregnant stomach, and has as earrings spools of unspun cotton, which are also symbols of Tlazolli; the cotton is born in an un-ordered state, which is useless, but when spun becomes thread and than cloth, thus making the useless useful. For Tlazolli is not bad in and of itself, but rather exists to be ordered and made fruitful. In her headdress she wears a spindle wound with thread, for she spins our destinies. Furthermore, the spindle is a sexual symbol; it grows with the spun thread, as a woman’s stomach grows with pregnancy, and furthermore “dances” in the whorl, in an obvious sexual metaphor. She sometimes wears a feather headpiece of red macaw and black crow feathers, which symbolizes the sun at night; the sun in its nightly journey through the underworld, awaiting rebirth into the order of day. Finally, she is often nude, symbolizing her role both as mother (her bared breasts), and Teotl of sexuality.


Maya Codex

The Maya were known for their bark (huun) codices that closed like an accordion. They were read from left to right and with a little help from early Spanish colonialists, the glyphs themselves were only able to be efficiently deciphered since the 1980s.

Below it what the sign read:

One of the characteristics of the Mayan culture was the development of a writing system which left traces in several ways. It was carved or painted on stelae (stone monuments), altars (circular stone slabs associated with stelae), lintels (stone over doorways), walls, stairs, thrones, objects of personal adornment (ear spools and jade plates), codices, and even on the body.

A close look at these pages make them seem almost like comic books. There is a scene depicted with glyphs around them to enhance the story.

The only Mayan I know how to read are the numerals. Spot any of the bars with dots over them. Each individual bar represents the number 5, whereas each dot represents one. It’s a lot like Roman numerals where you add the numbers up to get the one that is meant to be depicted.

For instance, on the top of the page with the dark figure, there is a row of two bars with three dots over them. Each of those represent the number 13. If that is a is part of a calendrical date or a count on goods, I have no idea. I suppose it could also be the name of the deity or elite seen in the particular scene.

(uploader´s note: description/text is only from flickr page, not from scientific source. Number 13 mentioned there, can surely refer to a 13 moon calendar…)