A Local Creation Story from the Naranjo Region about Space and Time

Taube has shown that there were various concepts of the earth or the world in Mesoamerican thought. The world was both conceived as rectangular and circular. Moreover, it was conceived to be associated with both a caiman and a turtle (Taube 1988: 153-174; 1988b: 195). The noted creation story from the Naranjo region suggests that time of the contemporary Long Count and the earth, symbolised by a caiman, was concurrently created according to local classic Maya tradition. Taube has namely detected an interesting iconographic element in the creation scene on K2796 and K7750. A big caiman is suspended above God L in the images on these vessels (Taube 1995: 74). Taube has observed that a similar being, called Itzam Can Ain (Cf. Barrera Vasquez 1980: 272) appears in postclassic or early colonial Yucatec creation stories:

According to the Chilam Balam books of Tizimin and Manf the cosmogonic Itzam Can Ain flood event occurred in Katun 13 Ahau, the last katun of the 13-katun series. It is surely no coincidence that the world trees subsequently placed in commemoration of the flood were termed imix che. The trees are named after Imix, the day immediately following Ahau, and thus the first day of the next katun cycle. As the primordial beast from which the earth is both destroyed and fashioned, Itzam Cab Ain embodies the concept of completion and renewal appearing in both Maya cosmology and calendrics (Taube 1989: 9).

The presence of the caiman in the scene may therefore signify a creation of the earth at the beginning of the present Long Count according to this classic Maya cosmogonic narrative.

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