Thomas, 1904, pp.
Morley, 1915; Thompson, 1927; Palacios, 1933; Teeple, 1930.
Landa, 1938, par.
24. Ralph L. Roys in this connection writes: “I don’t think
Landa is here referring to any counting apparatus, but only notes that
cacao counting was done on a flat surface, perhaps so that the buyer could
inspect the kernels to see they were not shells stuffed with earth.”
A few cases, notably
that of the famous Tuxtla Statuette (but this is quite possibly Olmec)
and that of a stela at Pestac, Chiapas, show that the presence of symbols
for the orders was not essential even in ritualistic inscriptions.
Among the numerous
references to this type of divination might be cited examples for the Yucatec
(Lopez de Cogolludo, 1867-1868, bk. 5, ch. 18), for the Lacandon Chol (Tozzer,
1913), for the Quiche (Popol Vuh, p. 177), and for the present-day highland
Maya of Guatemala (LaFarge and Byers, 1931, pp. 154-55).
Acosta, 1608, bk.
6, ch. 8. Passage translated by J.E.S.T. Mr. Ralph L. Roys
suggests that a cord frame might have been employed by the Maya, although
noting that there is no record of such a thing in literature. He
writes: “Diego Chi in his explanation of the calendar, as given in
Brinton, 1882, p. 47, remarks that his ancestors counted years up to the
number four by means of the thun; but five and its multiples by
the payche.” These are, of course, our bars and dots. Thun
is defined in the Motul dictionary as, among other things, a drop or splash.
is not translated in any dictionary. Nevertheless among the meanings
assigned to pay is to draw or pull along, while
not only tree, but also stick. The whole could therefore be translated
’pull-stick.’ Purely as a suggestion, might not this indicate the
use of a perforated stick strung on an abacus cord to record the number
five? Jade beads (tun) might have been similarly strung to
mark the numbers one to four, and a red shell bead for zero, since zero
is represented by a red shell in the codices. You could then arrange
each section of your cord abacus with five cords. On the top one
would be strung five beads, on each of the next three cords a perforated
stick for five, on the bottom one a red shell bead to represent zero. ¶“If
a pod had once been used for five, might it not have a cacao pod?
In the Vienna dictionary we read ’cacao, la masorca mui pequena, ppizte.’
Since ppiz usually means to measure, and te tree and by extension,
wood, we may have a hint as to the derivation of the payche.”
¶Serious drawbacks to the use of cacao beans in this way would be
their size and value. The bean pod, since it contains approximately
five beans, would have a mnemonic value, absent in the case of a cacao
pod. One gets the impression that cacao kernels were reserved for
actual currency transactions.
Wassen, n.d. ca.
app. 7; Joyce, 1923, app.; Lizardi Ramos, 1937.
1906, p. 133; Spinden, 1924, p. 62. Here the suggestion is made that
the computing year may have been used in measuring sidereal time.
pp. 237-48; Beyer, 1933. Förstemann, however, was the first
to correct 16 Uo to 17 Uo.
a term coined by Robert Willson (1924), are Secondary Series, one or more
units of which are enclosed in a ring, and which, when subtracted from
the base 22.214.171.124.0, 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu, reach the starting points of the Initial
Series with which they are linked. Their function was first ascertained
by Förstemann (1904, pp. 411-12).
p. 8; Morley, 1937-1938, 2: 541-46. In the second citation, Dr. Pogo
is credited with the belief that 8 Yax is an error of the computer, not
of the sculptor.
Beyer, 1932, pp.
Main web site: http://www.pauahtun.org