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notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    end 1    right    end 2    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION


Tortuguero Box
Reading the Text on the Wooden Offering Container of Aj K'ax B'ahlam
Marc Zender
Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary

(numeration follows Coe 1974, with the addition of the designations T1, T2, and U2 for the three glyph-blocks on the top of the lid, now known to be the beginning of the text)

credits





Notes on reading the inscription

On the drawings below you will see vertical columns designated by letters and horizontal rows that are numbered.

The Maya text reads in couplets down the rows and then return to the top of the next couplet column.

Example of a Maya text:


Column: A B C D
Row 1        
Row 2        


This would be read in this order:
A-1, B-1, A-2, B-2

then you would jump back to the top and read:
C-1, D-1, C-2, D-2
back


top view    left    end 1    right    end 2    bottom view    full translation
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TOP VIEW

COLUMN: T-1 U


ROW 1
U-B'AAH-ji
  'u-b'aah-Ø
 "it is his image"
 
ROW 2  ta - ? - ? ta-? 
"in the act of (?)"
U2: AJ-k'a-xa ?-ta
 Aj K'ax [B'ahlam] ?  
"Aj K'ax B'ahlam, (?)"
  T-2 U-2



notes on reading the inscription
left    end 1    right    end 2    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








LEFT SIDE VIEW
COLUMN: A-1 B-1 C-1 D-1 E-1 F-1 G-1
VI-'edznab' wak 'edznab' "(on) 6 Edznab" XI-ka-se-wa buluch kaseew
"11 Zec"
VIII-AJAW waxak ajaw "(on) 8 Ahau" XIII-ka-se-wa uuxlajuun kaseew  
"13 Zec"
B'ALAM-AJAW
 
B'ahlam Ajaw
 "B'ahlam Ajaw"
K'UH-B'AAK-AJAW
 
k'uh(ul) b'aak(el) ajaw
 "Divine Lord of Tortuguero"
B'ALAM-AJAW
 
B'ahlam Ajaw
 "B'ahlam Ajaw"
ROW 1
ROW 2
II-b'i-ji cha'b'ij
"in two days"
K'AL-ja-TUUN-ni k'ahlaj-Ø tuun "the stone is wrapped" ma-'a  ILA-'a-ji 
ma' il'aaj-Ø 
"he did not attend"
II-WINIK-ji-ya cha' 
winikjiiy-Ø 
"it had been 2 months"
OCH-b'i-ji-ji-ya
 
ochb'ijiiy-Ø  
"since he was entombed"
XII-YAX-K'IN-ni
 
lajchan yaxk'in
 "12 Yaxkin"
A-2 B-2 C-2 D-2 E-2 F-2 G-2


notes on reading the inscription
top view    end 1    right    end 2    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








END 1 VIEW
COLUMN: H-1 I-1
VIII-CHAJUK
 
waxak chahuk
 "(on) 8 Cauac"
ta-AJAW-le
 
ta-ajawle[l]
 "in lordship"
ROW 1
ROW 2
CHUM-mu-wa-ni chum-waan-Ø
 "he sits"
MUWAAN-ni
 
Muwaahn
 "Ik' Muyil Muwaahn"
H-2 I-2


notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    right    end 2    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








RIGHT SIDE VIEW
COLUMN: J-1 K-1 L-1 M-1 N-1 O-1 P-1
IK'-MUY-yi Ik' Muyi[l] k'a-b'a-IL yetk'ab'a'il-Ø
 "(who is) the namesake of"
u-MAM 
umam
 
"his grandfather"
ta-AJAW-le ta-ajawle[l]
 "in lordship"
a-LAY?
-ya alay?
 "then"
CHUM-mu-wa-ni
chum-waan-Ø
 "he sits"
ta-? 
ta ? 
"in ?-ship"
ROW 1
ROW 2
ye-te I-HAAB'-ya
 
juun haab'iiy 
"it had been [about] a year"
CHUM-mu-wa-ni-ya
 
chumwaniiy-Ø
 "since he sat"
IX-CHIJ
 
b'aluun chihj
 "(on) 9 Manik"
V-WI'-K'AN-JAL-b'u
ho'-wi'-k'anjalaab'
 "15 Pohp"
AJ-k'a-xa B'ALAM
 
Aj K'ax B'ahlam
 "Aj K'ax B'ahlam.
J-2 K-2 L-2 M-2 N-2 O-2 P-2


notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    end 1    end 2    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








END 2 VIEW
COLUMN: Q-1 R-1
V-he-wa 
ho heew
 
"it had been 5 days,"
XI-WINIK-ji-ya
 
b'uluch winikjiiy 
"11 months,"
ROW 1
ROW 2
I-HAAB'-ya
 
juun haab'iiy
 "[and] 1 year"
CHUM-mu-*wa-ni-*ya
chumwaniiy-Ø
 "since he sat"
Q-2 R-2


notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    end 1    right    bottom view    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








BOTTOM VIEW
 COLUMN: S

 
ROW 1 ta-? 
ta-? 
"in ?-ship"
ROW 2 PAT-la-ja 
patlaj-Ø  
"[when] it was fashioned"
ROW 3 yo-OTOOT-ti 
yotoot
 
"the container of"
ROW 4 U-ma-yi-ji 
umayij
 
"the offering(s) of"
ROW 5 AJ-k'a-xa 
Aj K'ax [B'ahlam]
 
"Aj K'ax B'ahlam"
   
   


notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    end 1    right    end 2    full translation
VIEWS | DISCUSSION | ENLARGE








"This is the image of Aj K'ax B'ahlam, the ?, in the act of ?".
"The stone is wrapped two days after 6 Edznab 11 Zec, on 8 Ahau 13 Zec. B'ahlam
Ajaw, Divine Lord of Tortuguero did not attend [the stone-wrapping]. On 8 Cauac
12 Yaxkin it had been 2 months since B'ahlam Ajaw was entombed when Ik' Muyil
Muwaahn II, namesake of his grandfather, sat in lordship. On 9 Manik 15 Pohp it
had been about a year since [Ik' Muyil Muwaahn II] sat in lordship when Aj K'ax
B'ahlam sat in ?-ship."
"It had been 5 days, 11 months and 1 year since he sat in ?-ship when the offering-container of Aj K'ax B'ahlam was fashioned".


notes on reading the inscription
top view    left    end 1    right    end 2    bottom view
VIEWS | DISCUSSION








Acknowledgements:

The author would like to acknowledge Rebecca Perales, Curator of the Carlos Pellicer Museum (Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico) for her kind permission to study the Tortuguero monuments in July and August of 1998, January of 1999 and June and October of 2002. Thanks must also go to Diana Fane of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Arthur Dunkelman of the Kislak Foundation for providing access to detailed records (both photographic and archival) of the Tortuguero Wooden box.

The author would also like to acknowledge Diane Griffiths Peck's fine drawings of the Tortuguero Wooden Box, and the exceptional job which Fitzgerald Design and Ernie Marc have done in the design and layout of this webpage. Ian Graham graciously offered his drawings of Yaxchilan Lintels 6 and 43, and David Stuart freely shared his ideas on their texts and imagery with me.

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notes on reading the inscription
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