Thursday, December 15, 2011
Mayan Bees and the Hero Twins
As we pointed out in the beginning of the presentation, it is often a combination of attributes and icons that define a supernatural being. We have been illustrating figures who have been giving us clues that there is a strong connection between the Hero Twin Yax Balam (Xbalanqué) and the beekeepers and bees.
"Many of these attributes and icons are brought together in one final image; a mother-of-pearl shell pendant that sums up and unites many of the points that have been discussed previously. (Figure 26) The face of the pendant is that of Yax Balam (Xbalanqué). The patch on his face as well as an inverted triangle of three dots, his headband and up-swept hairdo, all identify him precisely. Another element can be added to his attributes, a deer’s ear worn in his headband, is another icon, which identifies the Twins.
To return to the pendant, his body however, is that of a bee, combining wings and bulbous body with human legs, joining together those elements that describe the character Mok Chi'.
I would like to conclude with a brief comment on the name of this deity. David Stuart and Nikolai Grube included this supernatural, Mok Chi' in their paper, “Observations on T110 as the Syllable ko”.9. In this paper they suggested a reading of mok chi’ with the Yucatec meaning of “knot mouth”, certainly appropriate for this deity. We have seen how he can identified in certain of his guises by the knots in front of his mouth. (Figure 12).
However, we have seen at least one aspect of this being, named as Mok Chi’ who does not have this feature, instead, he is shown as the Hero Twin beekeeper (Figure 28). I would like to suggest that the pictures themselves, that the Maya made, may be a language that needs to read and interpreted with as much care as the text. We have shown Mok Chi’ as Hero Twin, God A’, a female version of God A’, the Swollen Man, the Waterlily Jaguar, the Man in Flames and above all, the bee emulator and beekeeper. Another curious aspect of the glyphic name emerges, in that, if the glyphs are read as separate components, we find that MOL (T581) can mean “to gather” and MANIK (T671) can mean “sweet.” The written name then means to “gather sweet” and that is exactly what Mok Chi’ does.
The Maya traditions of beekeeping and the production of alcoholic beverages has not ceased. In Yucatán today, one may obtain Xtabentun, (Figure 32) a delightful anise-flavored liquor made from honey, produced by the descendants of the people who created Mok Chi’."