Brian Stross UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS Classic Maya Directional Glyphs The Classic Maya living in Southern Mesoamerica during the first millen- nium A.D. used a hieroglyphic writing system that included four directional glyphs. Scholars have differed with regard to the specific readings of these glyphs as well as on the question of whether they refer to the sun's path (east, zenith, west, nadir) or instead to the cardinal directions (east, north, west, south). Evidence bearing on the latter question is presented here, and a res- olution proposed that in Classic times alternative programs of directional symbolism—one based on the sun's path, and another on the cardinal direc- tions—were employed in Maya script and iconography. The unmarked nor- mal referents of the "north" and "south" glyphs were zenith and nadir re- spectively, while the direction zenith also implied north and nadir also im- plied south. There was nonetheless a glyph referring specifically to "north," but not one referring specifically to "south." As part of the evidence for this resolution, new readings and interpretations based on a Cholan Mayan lan- guage are introduced for the Classic Maya directional glyphs. The proposed readings of these glyphs are *xin chan "zenith, north," *nahal ajaw "north," *mal puy "nadir, south," *hok' k'in "sunrise, east," and *k'ah k'in "sunset, west." O f the many remarkable accomplishments of Classic Maya civili- zation, located in southern Mexico, northern Guatemala, and ex- treme eastern Honduras between A.D. 200 and 900, a logo-syl- labic hieroglyphic writing system employed until the middle of the 16th century is certainly among the most impressive.1 Tremendous advances have been made in the past decade towards complete decipherment of the Maya script, but a number of problematic areas remain, and many glyphs have eluded full specification with respect to sound, meaning, and other properties. One area where disagreement among scholars persists is in the inter- pretation of directional glyphs. Do they refer to the sun's path (east, ze- 97 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology nith, west, nadir) or to the cardinal directions as we know them (east, north, west, south)? Are readings of them to be based on words currently found in the Yucatecan branch of the Mayan language family or is it more appropriate to ground the readings of the Classic glyphs on vocabularies from the Cholan branch of the Mayan language family? What are the best readings of the individual components that in composition make up each of the particular directional glyphs? These are questions that elicit differ- ent answers from different scholars. Based on a suggestion by Coggins (1980) that Classic Maya directional symbolism referred to the sun's path (east, zenith, west, nadir) rather than to the cardinal directions (east, north, west, south), Bricker pro- posed phonetic readings for the four directional glyphs found in the cor- pus of Maya hieroglyphic writing (1983). Some Maya epigraphers have not accepted these readings for the glyphs; others reject even the hy- pothesis that the glyphs refer to the sun's path rather than to the cardinal directions. Thus the nature of the "north" and "south" glyph referents continues to be an important unresolved problem. Building on Bricker's work, a resolution is here proposed that introduces and utilizes new readings and interpretations of the Classic Maya directional glyphs based on a Cholan Mayan language and that focuses on an analysis of direc- tional glyphs occurring on a Classic period stela at the Maya site of Co- pan, located in eastern Honduras on the southeastern corner of the Clas- sic Lowland Maya region. Bricker's argument that the Maya glyph collocations hitherto thought to refer to north and south referred in fact to the zenith and nadir posi- tions in the sun's path can be buttressed with evidence from Sierra Po- poluca, a Zoquean language spoken by neighbors of the Mayans, to the immediate west of them, indicating that underlying the meanings of "north" and "south" are literal meanings more appropriate to concepts of "zenith" and "nadir." The Sierra Popoluca word for "north," sAN- winy, can be glossed more literally as "sky-place" and the word for "south," nax-winy, can be glossed more literally as "earth-place" (Kay Sammons's field notes, private communication, 1988). But Bricker's argument has not been accepted by all Mayanists, partly because the Postclassic Maya encountered by the conquering Spaniards used the cardinal directions as we know them (east, north, west south), but also because a Classic Maya tomb recently discovered at the Guate- malan archaeological site known as Rio Azul contains four directional glyphs on its walls appropriately placed in the cardinal directions (Figure 1). Clearly more evidence must be brought to bear on the question about referents for the "north" and "south" glyphs during Classic times. Some of this evidence comes from a reconsideration of late Predassic and early Classic iconography in which directionality is implied, and some derives from readings of the directional glyphs themselves. The intent of this article is first to review the iconographic evidence, and then to consider in detail the glyphic evidence in light of the proba- bility that Cholan represents the primary language of the Classic Maya script, focusing on readings and the ordering of directional glyphs oc- Classic Maya Directional Glyphs 99 east west south north Figure 1 Direction Glyphs from Rio Azul Tomb [drawing by David Stuart] curring on a Classic period stela at Copan. It will be argued that zenith and nadir are the unmarked normal meanings of the north and south glyphs respectively for the Classic Maya, but by implication zenith can refer also to the north and nadir to the south. That is to say, that zenith and north can be conflated together while nadir and south are the other conflatable pair. The Copan examples of "north" and "south" glyphs are read here, us- ing Cholan vocabulary, as Mayan words for zenith and nadir, based on an internal glyph collocation reading order that is fully specified. Read- ings of other "north" and "south" glyph collocations are advanced here as well, and it is maintained that none of the Classic collocations refer to the Yucatecan word xaman "north," as has been proposed and accepted Journal of Linguistic Anthropology by several epigraphers. Readings and a rationale for them are also pro- posed here for east and west glyph collocations. In this context it is also argued that the currently accepted interpretation of lak k'in as a reading for the "east" glyph collocation may not apply to Classic times. Iconography Hammond has described, analyzed, and compared two sets of small jade pendant heads—a set of four and a set of five "deity" heads—re- covered from late Preclassic dedicatory caches in temple structures at Cerros and Nohmul, both sites located in northern Belize (1987), within the lowland Maya region. The five Cerros heads were placed by the Maya in a diamond pattern with the four smaller ones radially located around a larger central one. He posits a similar positioning pattern for the four Nohmul heads, but without a larger central one. He then compares the two sets of four horizontally placed and radially located "deity heads" with four similarly positioned deity heads inscribed in considerable detail on a large late Preclassic jade object known as the Pomona flare that was excavated from the site of Pomona in the Stann Creek Valley, Belize, and that was found vertically oriented (set on edge between two limestone blocks). The vertical orientation is discussed in terms of a "sun's path" program of directional symbolism, while the cache heads are seen to rep- licate a "cardinal directions" program. The comparison leads to his con- clusion that alternative programs of directional symbolism—one based on the sun's path, and another on the cardinal directions—were in place in Maya iconography by the early Classic (1987:21). It is easy to see how the two programs might be conflated. While in agreement with his conclusion about the alternative programs of directional symbolism, I have identified his "zenith" deity head of the Pomona flare as that of the nadir, and his "nadir" deity head as pertain- ing to the zenith (cf. Stross 1989, 1991). This does not affect the proposi- tion that Classic Maya directional symbolism allows nadir and north to be conflated while nadir and south can likewise be conflated. I have also argued that the deity heads from Pomona, Cerros, and Nohmul represent stages in the life cycle of maize, a proposition that is corroborated and more clearly indicated on an unprovenienced lime- stone stela, known as the Hauberg Stela, dated at about A.D. 200 and be- lieved to derive from the Peten region of Guatemala (Figure 2). On this stela the miniature "climbing figures" represent, as can be seen from their headdresses, different stages in the life cycle of maize, from seed on the one nearest the head of the serpent held in the ruler's arms to the immature but edible ear of maize nearest the serpent's tail. The ruler, as symbolic axis and cosmological center, can be seen to have on his head- dress a mature ear of maize, which I would compare to the central jade deity head from the Cerros cache. Furthermore the two "climbing figures," or maize spirits, on the ser- pent to the ruler's right must represent the zenith/north (the top one) and the east/sunrise; the two on his left must represent the west/sunset and Classic Maya Directional Glyphs 101 Figure 2 The Hauberg Stela [after Schele 1985:136] Journal of Linguistic Anthropology the nadir/south (the bottom one). In this conflation of directional sym- bolism it is obvious why the top can and must be associated with north, while the bottom can and must be associated with the south. The ruler (with both a maize seed and the fully developed maize ear on his head constitutes the central focus of the Hauberg and surely symbolizes the central axis containing thus both zenith and nadir at the same time. Moreover, in redirecting our attention to maize (arguably equivalent to the sun in Mesoamerican symbolism), the Hauberg Stela suggests an- other way of looking at the symbolism inherent in the Classic Maya di- rectional glyphs. If the ruler portrayed on the Hauberg Stela faces north (as is almost cer- tain), which is where his soul must eventually end up after his death, having traversed the underworld and attained apotheosis,2 then to his left side will be the west, to his right the east. Thus, when the north- south axis must be conflated with the east-west axis, the south will end up with the west, as is confirmed in well-documented Mayan concep- tions of the south as the underworld. Bricker provides additional support in her suggested reasoning behind the conflation. Noting that Chamula Tzotzil ceremonial circuits replicate in their counterclockwise direction the journey of the sun across the heavens by day and through the un- derworld at night, she explains that "it makes sense to equate the sun's highest point with the north and its lowest point with south when its movements are replicated in a ceremonial circuit" (1983:352), because the sun reaches zenith and most northerly point in its range near the summer solstice, while reaching its lowest altitude and most southerly horizon point around the winter solstice. The Glyphs The east (sunrise), west (sunset), nadir (south) and zenith ("north") glyphs are found embedded in a Classic Maya text on Stela A at Copan (Figure 3). They occur here in that order, two at a time, and by pairing directional axes, they appear to be explicitly indicating a noncyclic direc- tion of movement. The stress on axiality in this example of directional reference, appears to exclude any interpretation of a circular progression around the cardinal points (such as would imply for example a move- ment from east, north, west, south), but it would also be excluding an interpretation of movement around the major points in the sun's per- ceived journey through day and night along the east-west axis (such as implying a journey from east [Sunrise] to zenith [Noon] to west [Sunset] to nadir [Midnight]). It seems that these paired glyphs on Copan Stela A cannot by their or- der of presentation resolve the question of their referents as north versus zenith and south versus nadir, nor can they do so on the basis of their pairings. But we can nonetheless gain further insight by discovering pre- cisely the Classic Mayan words referenced by these glyph collocations of Copan. The crucial glyphs in this respect are those representing north/ zenith and south/nadir, but suggestions on their interpretation are fol- Classic Maya Directional Glyphs 103 183 EAST hok' k'in 116 IS 221 WEST k'ah k'in 544 116 ZENITH xin chan NADIR mal puy Figure 3 Directional Glyphs on Copan A. G8-H9 [after Bricker 1983:348] lowed here by new readings of the east and west glyphs as well (Figure 4). 104 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology ho k'a k'in k'in ne EAST WEST ma chan puy na XI NADIR ZENITH Figure 4 Directional Glyphs: East—Palenque, Group 3 Inscribed Pot, E2; West—Yaxchi- lan Lintel 1, H10; Nadir/South—Palenque, Tablet of Cross, A15; Zenith/North— Palenque, Tablet of Cross, C13 It will be instructive to begin by taking a broad look at the Copan di- rectional glyphs first, ignoring particular phonetic realizations. The east and west glyphs each contain two cross-shaped k'in "sun" glyphs. The bottom k'in glyph in each is the main sign (supplemented by the tail-like glyph currently viewed as a phonetic complement with the phonetic value of ne or ni), and since it occurs in both the east and west glyphs but not in the other two directions, it appears thus to be implying the axis of solar travel, which shares the criterial feature of the sun. No such shared main sign occurs with the "north" and "south" glyphs. Their main signs are a serpent (segment with marking) and a snail (shell) respectively. The serpent (segment) and the snail (shell) glyphs constitute extremely important clues to the referents of the north and south glyphs, for the serpent is firmly linked to the sky in Maya cos- mology as well as by homophony (which forms the basis for the rebus principle manifested in Maya script), while the snail is just as firmly con- Classic Maya Directional Glyphs nected with the earth and more specifically to the underworld in Maya thought. Mindful of the proto-Cholan homophony between *chan "serpent" (from proto-Mayan *kaan) and *chan "sky" (from proto-Mayan *ka?N) (Kaufman and Norman 1984:117), it is easy to see that the serpent (seg- ment) could refer to the sky. Even in Yucatec the words for "serpent," kan and for "sky" kaan are near homophones. It is almost as easy to see that the snail (shell) can refer directly to the earth or to the underworld. With respect to the latter, one may note that Maya iconography of the underworld is replete with depictions of shells, along with other evidence that the underworld must have been viewed by the Classic Maya as under water. The former connection is attested to by the fact that in the Maya script a glyph collocation meaning "war" preposes a "Venus" glyph to either the "earth" glyph or to a snail (shell) glyph. The fact that a snail can substitute for the earth within a single glyphic expression thus constitutes excellent evidence connecting the snail to the earth. Because both land snails and water snails are found in the Maya area and have different names, one cannot be sure whether we are dealing with the snail as earth or as underworld, but the "war" expression prob- ably indicates a land snail. The snail depicted on the "south" glyph is the same one that occurs as a main sign in the "(Venus) star over shell" col- location that means 'war7 and that indexes positions of the planet Venus as Evening Star. A name for Venus in Tzotzil Mayan—a Western Mayan language relatively close to Choi—is, significantly, h-tP puy "Venus [lit. eater-of snails]" (Laughlin 1975). In the same language antzil tP means "war" [antzil "woman, female"] (Laughlin 1988).3 Since the "earth" glyph can be replaced by the "snail shell" glyph, and since Venus (the "star" glyph in the glyph collocation called "star over earth") is referred to as "eater of snails," this is good evidence that the snail (shell) glyph can symbolize the earth (as opposed to the under- world) in the directional expressions. We may recall at this point that the main roots in the Sierra Popoluca words for "north" and "south" are those which literally mean "sky" and "earth." And the main signs of the Copan glyph collocations referring to corresponding directions also can now be seen to clearly indicate "sky" and "earth" as referents. North The "north" collocation begins with a prefixed glyph known as T114, referring to the identifying number in Thompson's 1962 Catalog, that I read as xi (though it is usually seen as xa).4 To the main sign is attached a phonetic suffix, T23. Together, xi (T114) and na (the T23 suffix) spell xin, an adverb that in proto-Cholan as well as in Choi today means "in the center, in the middle" (Kaufman and Norman 1984:139). This mean- ing apparently refers to and is read in combination with the central main sign of the collocation, a serpent (segment) referring to the serpent (proto-Cholan *chari), and thus to the homophonously termed sky (proto- 106 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology Cholan *chan). The result is the reading xin chart "in the sky's center, the zenith." Zenith with little doubt is the primary referent of the "north" glyph at Classic Maya Copan.5 On the other hand, another version of the "north" glyph may even in Classic times refer to the direction north rather than zenith. In this glyph collocation a young lord's profile (an Ahaw head) is preposed by a T48 glyph having the phonetic value na (Figure 5). Noting first that proto- Cholan *nah- means "in front, forward, before, first" (Kaufman and Nor- man 1984:138), we may then recall that the Ahaw "Lord, Ruler" on the Hauberg Stela was facing north. That is to say, north was "in front" of him; it was "before" him.6 This is in accord both with the orientation of the Hauberg Stela's ruler and with the placement of the front facing cen- tral jade pendant head in the Cerros cache mentioned above. The latter faces north because to its right is the pendant head that Hammond has demonstrated represents east and sunrise (1987:17). Refer back to the Cerros and Nohmul caches and to the Hauberg Stela. The north glyph in which a na precedes an Ahaw head, then, may be assigned the reading *nahal ajaw (the ; here references a reconstructed proto-Cholan ; that in Choi of today became an h). An alternative form of the north glyph based on the young Ahaw (lord) head is found on the Palace Tablet at the Classic Maya site of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico. This young Ahaw has a "Yax" glyph on his forehead (Figure 6). The Yax glyph is taken by Maya epigraphers to mean "first" (based on Cholan and Yucatecan meanings for the root), as is the na glyph (T23), and since na can mean "in front of" as well as "first," pre- sumably the Yax glyph could also mean "in front of," at least by exten- sion. Not surprisingly the notions of "first" and of "in front" (as well as North nahal ahaw Figure 5 North—nahal ahaw—Yaxchilan Stela 11 Side B6 Classic Mm/a Directional Glyphs 107 yax ahaw north yax ahaw Figure 6 North Alternate—Palenque Tablet, C3 "on top of") are as conflatable in Mayan thought and language as they are in our own. Because of a curious homophony in Choi, it is possible to speculate that the young ahaw (the young lord) may be participating in a visual pun leading back to the serpent notion symbolizing "sky." His presence might be suggesting logographic CHAN ("sky," "serpent," "lord"), for Choi has the word choPan "master, owner, lord" (Josserand and Hopkins 1988:fascicle 10), which is a near homophone to the Choi words for "sky" and "serpent" as well as representing the meaning oiahaw in Mayan lan- guage. This interpretation would support a zenith interpretation for the young lord variants of the "north" glyph collocation. South Turning to the nadir or "south" collocation at Copan, it is composed of glyphs T74.134:575:178. The prefix T74 and the suffix T178 have long had accepted phonetic values of m(a) and l(a) respectively (Stuart 1987:46-47). As with the zenith or "north" collocation above, these pho- Journal of Linguistic Anthropology netic glyphs can be read together first, as with the glyph for the Maya month of Mac, and then preposed to the logographic (i.e., referencing a word) main sign. Taking the ma and la together according to generally accepted principles in which the final vowel introduced by the last syl- lable in the word is omitted, we have the spelling mal, which in Choi means "inside." Kaufman and Norman reconstruct a proto-Cholan *ta- mal "inside" (1984:139), which includes the general purpose preposition ta in its composition (1984:139). Choi's mal "inside" must be the head por- tion of the prepositional construction.7 The snail shell tells us what the referent for "inside" is; that is, "inside the earth," or possibly "inside the watery underworld" (either reference being fully appropriate for the concept "nadir"). For reasons mentioned above, I take the snail shell in Classic times to have referred to the earth as a whole, and there are some minor considerations pointing weakly in the same direction as well. For example, the snail could also reference the earth by means of a somewhat roundabout near homophony, for the "land snail" in Choi is t'ot' (Aulie 1978:116), sonically close to the word ch'och' "earth" found in Mamean and Kanjobalan Mayan languages, and it also resembles Choi -otot "house, home" (Aulie 1978:90), "house" being a universal Mayan metaphor for "world," or "earth." But the more persuasive argument remains the fact that in the "Star over Earth" glyph collocation (referring to both "war" and "Venus as evening star"), the snail shell (cf. proto-Cholan *puy "snail (shell)" and Tzotzil puy "snail") can substitute for the "earth" glyph (Caban). This implies strongly that the snail shell can symbolize earth. Venus's Tzotzil appellation h-tP puy "eater of snails" is additional evidence for that inter- pretation. With an earth reference for "snail," the meaning of the "south" glyph remains "nadir."8 The T134 glyph, four U-shaped elements wrapping or flanking the snail shell, is somewhat problematic. Stuart gives this glyph a phonetic value of hi and illustrates cases where y or i might be preferred (1987:42). This glyph may by its attachment to the side(s) of the snail shell be acting as a phonetic complement, indicating the final consonant y of the word puy "snail" that is in the "south" Glyph collocation. Like other phonetic complements T134 is optional, in that there are occasions when it is not present in the glyph collocation referring to nadir/south. Summarizing so far, both east and west glyphs share the sun (k'in) as a main sign, for indeed they refer to the sun's path, while "north" has a "sky" symbol (the serpent [segment]) and "south" has an "earth" sym- bol (the snail shell), suggesting also the sun's path. Thus the main signs of the latter directionals indicate zenith and nadir are more likely refer- ents than are north and south. Returning to the east-west axis, and recalling that the sun (so strongly identified with maize in Mayan cosmologies) is also in the prefixed glyphs, we must take special note of the other aspects of the prefixes in the east and west glyph collocations. For the east glyph there is a hol- lowed out bowl-shaped depression (sometimes called the "k'in bowl") covered by a flat bar, in other contexts associated with the number "5." 109 Classic Maya Directional Glyphs The fact that the sun is in the bowl in an eastern direction suggests that the sun may well have been resting in that bowl overnight (for all living entities need their rest), and simply needs to be scooped out in the morn- ing in order to come up in the east. If we imagine the sun as maize, the form, which is similar to the seed form of maize on the Hauberg Stela, suggests that this maize seed is planted under the ground, in the under- world, where the sun is during the night. The maize is of course waiting to sprout in the east and mature during the symbolic day while the sun is overhead, only to be harvested (killed by decapitation) as the sun goes down. East This scenario can be replicated with plausible phonetic values associ- ated with the plausible identifications made here of the bowl (or other form of scooped out hollow) and the bar standing for "five."9 Proto-Cho- lan *ho "five" and *k'in "sun" would together spell hok'in, and the Choi words hok' "(water) well" (Aulie 1978:66) and k'in "sun" (Aulie 1978:178) when put together would also be realized as hok'in, because the two k' segments would by morphophonemic assimilation become one. It is this latter interpretation that tells what is happening with the sun in the east at sunrise. Proto-Cholan *jok' "(tv) dip out by hand, scoop out; dig a well" (Kaufman and Norman 1984:122) can be said to describe the dawn- ing sun as being "scooped out from its position in a hollow place," and Yucatec hok'ol k'in "saltr el sol por el horizonte/sunrise" (Barrera 1980:22) is an attested construction. The verb hok' fits the vegetative metaphor as well, because just as earth is scooped out in order to plant, so the sun comes up by being scooped out of its resting place in the bowl-like depression where it has been resting for the night.10 Perhaps this bowl-like depression out of which the sun pops in the east at dawn represents the maw of the earth monster; or perhaps it was con- ceptualized in other terms. Regardless, it seems unlikely to have been vocalized as a lak during the Classic period by Cholans as currently main- tained by several epigraphers. Although lak in Yucatec of Postclassic times meant "plate, clay object, clay idol" (Barrera 1980:433) and so could help account for the Yucatec word lak'in "east" (Barrera 1980:433) in terms of a glyphically depicted lak "bowl" and a depicted k'in "sun" (con- flated as la(k)k'in "east"), it is not a Cholan word and cannot be recon- structed for proto-Cholan (cf. Kaufman and Norman 1984). It may be noted, too, that Yucatec lik'in (Barrera 1980:452) was more commonly em- ployed in Yucatec than lak'in to refer to "east," and the currently accepted lak reading for the "k'in bowl" cannot easily account for that either. West The operative glyph in the glyph collocation designating west is the back view of a fist with a k'in glyph infixed at its base. Allowing for a count of at least up to ten on the hands, it is conceivable that the back view of a fist could represent a phonetic la, based on proto-Cholan *laj Journal of Linguistic Anthropology "to finish" (Kaufman and Norman 1984:124) that is the root portion of proto-Cholan *lajun "10" (Kaufman and Norman 1984:138) and symbol- izing the completion of the second hand and the count of ten. Based on this interpretation, the "west" glyph collocation would be *laj k'in "west," referring to the completion of the day. This sort of interpretation fits the conception of west as destruction; as the place where the sun dies. But there is no evidence at this time supporting the use of the back of a fist to refer to a completed count of "ten." Another interpretation, how- ever, is more plausible, makes use of the death metaphor, and also makes a reference in line with the "resting sun" notion and the maize harvest metaphor mentioned above. The Spaniard Bishop Diego de Landa who lived in Yucatan during the middle of the sixteenth century devised with the help of a native infor- mant a partial syllabary of the Maya script that survived in Yucatan up until that time, believing it to be an alphabet. Landa's "alphabet" tells us that the back of the first can be read as k'a. It is the second K of Landa's "alphabet," and there is little doubt about its phonetic value of k'a. Proto-Cholan *k'aj "harvest (maize)" fits not only the notion of com- pletion and of death (maize is decapitated when harvested by being snapped right off the stem of the plant); it also fits in with the vegetative metaphor. There is ample evidence in Maya iconography and oral liter- ature that maize and the sun are symbolic equivalents in a number of contexts, and with the maize harvest as a metaphor for "west," where the sun dies, we can easily discern the implication of putting the sun into a container (for the night), as maize is harvested and stored. In such a container the sun/maize may rest, recalling the Choi word k'ah-o "rest/ descanso" (Aulie 1978:41). Instead of the attractive but unsupported pho- netic reading of la for the fist, we must choose the better motivated k'a as a phonetic reading that allows for a *k'aj "harvest (maize)" interpretation of the "west" glyph collection.11 This harvest reading brings in both the concept of maize and its harvest, and the notion of destruction and death that goes along conceptually with the west. Conclusions The readings for Classic Maya direction glyphs proposed above are predicated on a Cholan language being represented in the glyphs of the Classic Maya, on an integrated view of the directions as related in a pri- mary way to the path of the sun from dawn to noon to dusk to midnight and then back to dawn in a cycle that metaphorically replicates the rhythms of life and maize, and that is reflected in the glyphic means for representing them in a logo-syllabic script, and on a view of the logo- graphic main signs that takes them to be overtly pictographic and sym- bolic as well as logographic in the process of conveying the required in- formation. That is to say, there is an iconographic component to the glyphs as well, lending itself to symbolic interpretations that go beyond the phonetic and logographic values of the glyphic signs. These assumptions have resulted in the following readings for the di- rection glyphs being proposed: *xin chart "zenith," *nahal ajaw "north," Classic Maya Directional Glyphs HI *mal puy "nadir/south/' *hok' k'in "east/' *k'ah k'in "west." The readings themselves constitute an important part of the argument supporting Bricker's earlier contention that the Classic Maya "north" glyph really represents the zenith and the Classic Maya "south" glyph really repre- sents the nadir, and are part of my own attempt to resolve the positions of vertical versus horizontal directional circuits both in terms of two al- ternative directional programs present during the Classic period and in terms of the Classic Maya conceptual conflating of east with sunrise, north with zenith, west with sunset, and south with nadir. Part of the directional glyph interpretation proposed here requires T114 to stand for phonetic xi rather than the more commonly accepted xa. This departure from currently accepted values is motivated as sug- gested in note 4, and there is no place where this interpretation conflicts with required sound values in other contexts where the glyphs occur. While Cholan most probably represents the language in which most of the Classic Maya script was written, between about A.D. 200 and 900, the Maya "books" (codices) that have survived and represent the Postclassic script from about A.D. 900 until the completion of the Spanish conquest of Yucatan are just as clearly written in Yucatecan. These two Mayan lan- guage subgroups appear to account for the vast majority of the Maya script from start to finish. If the interpretations of the directional glyphs contained herein are correct, an examination of the structure of the glyph collocations through time from early Classic to late Postclassic, from Cho- lan to Yucatecan suggests that the glyphs represent several different ways of saying or implying the same thing, in different languages, and in the same language with different words. The glyph collocations seem thus to have been built up by accretion, presumably the oldest stratum being the main sign. The phonetic spellings, as is the case with the month Mac and a number of other glyph collocations, can therefore ignore the main sign, although of course as in the case of phonetic complements and frozen forms, they need not do so. Notes 1. The orthography employed here is a normalized phonemic one, deviating from Amerindianist practice in that A stands for shwa (the mid-central vowel), ch stands for the alveolar affricate often written c, and tz stands for the dental affri- cate t. Herein also, x indicates the postalveolar voiceless groove fricative (or si- bilant) known as "esh," while / indicates the voiceless velar fricative that in the IPA is given as x, and N refers to the velar nasal known as "eng" or "engma." Vowel length is indicated by doubling the vowel. In these conventions, I am closely following general Mayanist practice. Bracketed words reflect the spelling conventions of the original sources from which the words are taken. The manu- script has benefited from perceptive comments by Ben Blount, Barbara MacLeod, and Jorge Orejel. 2. And apparently this is where rulers have been facing in stone portraits since Olmec times, as well as being "on top," as we can see from the somewhat God- C-like (and Ahaw-like, because portrayed in full-face, rather than profile) face Journal of Linguistic Anthropology carved on the top of Cerro Chalcatzingo. It faces north (Kent Reilly, personal communication, 1989). 3. Even today the Chorti Mayans (of the Cholan subgroup) connect Venus with war. "Then that star appears in place over the peak. . . . The old people used to say that its name is San Ramon. Watcher over the earth. . . . There are times when it unites its body with the moon. And people say, 'When that star unites its body with the moon, that is a sign that someone is going to kill himself in the village. If not, a war [emphasis mine] is going to be made in the towns' " (Fought 1972:427). For the Chorti, San Ramon is Venus as the Evening Star (Fought 1972:436). The uniting of the star's body with the moon recalls the meaning of the Tzotzil expression for Venus as "eater of snail," which in turn reminds us of the fact that the Maya moon goddess was also the earth and fertility goddess. 4. xi can be derived by taking the final consonant of the word Yax and then reproducing the echo vowel, which in this case, coming off an apico-alveolar con- sonant, does not echo the preceding vowel, but rather reflects a palatalization of vowel quality. The xi reading for T114 is as likely a reading as xa in the context of Stuart's month glyph Pax, and in fact a skull with dots around the eye has been read as xi by Stuart in precisely that context (1987:33, 47). The xi reading for T114 thus works fine as a complement in constructing the month name Pax and it works well in other contexts too. 5. Note also the Choi word chan "high" (Aulie and Aulie 1978:47), so that the picture of a serpent or serpent segment should alone be able to refer to the zenith, as in chan chan "sky high." The form, however, is unattested. Perhaps it is no accident either that T114, whose phonetic value is being exploited in the glyph collocation under consideration, is also used logographically to refer to the divi- natory day name Chicchan-"Serpent." 6. In fact even by the time of the Postclassic Yucatec codices, when the young Ahaw has been transformed into a God C (also representing, as does the Ahaw, divinity) and the prefix to God C has become a U bracket, distinct from the third person glyph only in its attachment to God C, we can still read this glyph collo- cation as "in front of the Lord, i.e., north." 7. This sounds much like the Nahuatl word for tamale, the foodstuff which wraps a layer of maize dough around a central core of meat, beans, or other food- stuff. It is surely symbolic of a person, flesh wrapped in skin, as pointed out by McGee (1990:151). The Nahuatl word may actually be related to proto-Cholan. Note for example, that Cholti has naka tamal as the word for "tamale/' presumed to be a loan from Nahuatl. In Honduras, the local Spanish maintains the word naka tamal for "tamale" even today. Naka in Nahuatl means "meat," in proto- Zoquean, "skin," and in Choi and Tzeltalan naka(l) means "seated." It is possible that Nahuatl borrowed the form tamal from a Mayan word meaning 'inside' and naka(l) from a Mayan word meaning "seated, positioned," and Zoquean may have borrowed its word naka meaning "skin, wrapper" from a Mayan language as well. 8.1 also have a preference for puy based on the fact that the snail is the "foot" creature (its foot is what sticks out, responsible for its locomotion according to native conceptions), and is this like the nighttime measurer of the sky, the moon, also known as the "night sun." In Kekchi and in Pocoman Mayan po means "moon," and in Mixe-Zoquean poya "moon" is like poy "leg," and once again alows us to see that reference here should be to the underworld. Note that The Aztec god of the moon, Tecciztecatl is both patron of the Aztec day Miquiztli ("Death"), and is related to the marine snail. Classic Maya Directional Glyphs 113 9. An alternative interpretation of the East glyph would understand the bar to contribute a phonetic reading of ho that when added to a depicted metate cha (cf. proto-Cholan *cha? "metate") results in a spelling hocha followed by logographic k'in "sun/' to be read as a rebus for ochah k'in "(the) sun has entered (the sky, the world)." 10. Independently and for quite different reasons, Hammond reads elements associated with the eastern/sunrise deity head on the Pomona Flare as *jo:k or *jok "to appear, sunrise." 11. The Rio Azul directional glyphs include a "west" glyph in which the fist is much closer in appearance to a "flat hand" glyph which refers to "completion," and it is possible that this represents an alternative "spelling" of the direction, making use of the la(h) "completion" capabilities usually attributed to the "flat hand." References Cited Aulie, H. Wilbur, and Evelyn W. Aulie 1978 Diccionario Ch'ol-Espanol, Espanol-Ch'ol. Mexico City: Summer Insti- tute of Linguistics. Barrera Vasquez, Alfredo 1980 Diccionario Maya Cordemex. Merida: Ediciones Cordemex. Bricker, Victoria R. 1983 Directional Glyphs in Maya Inscriptions and Codices. American Antiq- uity 48:347-353. Coggins, Clemency 1980 The Shape of Time: Some Political Implications of a Four-Part Figure. American Antiquity 45:727-739. Fought, John G. 1972 Chorti (Mayan) Texts (I). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Hammond, Norman 1987 The Sun also Rises: Iconographic Syntax of the Pomona Flare. Research Report on Ancient Maya Writing, No. 7. Washington, D.C.: Center for Maya Research. Josserand, J. Katheryn, and Nicholas A. Hopkins 1988 Final Performance Report, National Endowment for the Humanities Grant RT-20643-86, Part III. Washington, D.C.: NEH. Kaufman, Terrence, and William Norman 1984 An Outline of Proto-Cholan Phonology, Morphology, and Vocabulary. In Phoneticism in Mayan Hieroglyphic Writing. J. S. Justeson and Lyle Campbell, eds. Pp. 77-166. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies Pub. 9. Al- bany, N.Y.: State University of New York at Albany. Laughlin, Robert M. 1975 The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacantan. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology 31. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institu- tion Press. 1988 The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of Santo Domingo Zinacantan. Smithson- ian Contributions to Anthropology 31. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian In- stitution Press. McGee, R. Jon 1990 Life, Ritual, and Religion Among the Lacandon Maya. Belmont, Cal.: Wads worth Publishing Co. 114 Journal of Linguistic Anthropology Schele, Linda 1985 The Hauberg Stela: Bloodletting and the Mythos of Maya Rulership. The Palenque Round Table Series 7:135-150. Stuart, David 1987 Ten Phonetic Syllables. Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing No. 14. Washington, D.C.: Center for Maya Research. Stross, Brian 1989 The Language of La Mojarra Stela 1: Fish and Maize. Unpublished MS, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas. 1991 Mesoamerican Writing at the Crossroads: the Late Formative. Visible Language (in press). Thompson, J. Eric S. 1962 A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.