At the edge of the world: Caves and Late Classic Maya world by Karen Bassie-Sweet

By Karen Bassie-Sweet

Booklet by means of Bassie-Sweet, Karen

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1993:130]. It is known from several Classic hieroglyphic texts that the members of the ruling lineage were trained in the arts of divination, writing, and calendrics (Reents 1985; Stuart 1987). '^ They petitioned the deities for a safe and ordered world. Tb govem is to care for and protect; therefore he who govems wrestles with evil and through his sacrifice and efforts draws upon the people the blessings of the ever-reluctant gods. (Guiteras 1961:78) With this background on the deities,the ancestors, and the ruling eUte, the following chapter examines the physical environment of the Maya.

The Postclassic ceremonies were often initiated with the ritual crea tion of a quadrilateral space (Tbzzer 1941). Four assistants stood where the comers of the square were desired. A long cord was stretched between them to mark the perimeter of the square. Each of the four inner columns of Copan Stmctuie 18 picture Yax Pac performing a dance that was related to the act of tying(Gmbe 1992:213). These tying dances formed a quadri lateral space just as the deities tied off the quadrilateral world (the location of this Copan space is discussed in chapter 2).

The sea is characterized as a layered body of water that contains both saltwater and freshwater animals as well as a host of supematurals. It is the home of the creator deities of the sea and is represented by lakes, pools of water, and water shrines. The surface is often coveied in waterlily plants. In certain contexts it carries the valué of naab, which means both waterlily and sea. In Chorti belief, the sea is divided into four quadrants,each associated with a color: milk white, blood red, blue-gieen, and pitch black (Fóught 1972:433).

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