Ritual Techniques of Time

A diversity of ritual techniques was conducted at “period-ending date”. Many of these cannot be acknowledged as imitations of cosmic actions conducted by the creator deities on 4 Ajaw 8 Ohl (Kumk’u) (and in the case of Palenque on 13 Ik’ end of Ik’sihom). Ritual techniques—expressed in the inscriptions by: “receive god”; “conjure deities”; “giving or offering; “ritual drilling of fire”; “dance”; ball game; impersonation; blood sacrifice etc. —were not exclusively associated with ceremonies on conducted on a “period-ending” but also on “non-period-ending dates”. Since the same ritual practice could be conducted on both “period- endings” and on “non-period-endings” they did not emulate or were associated with the creation of the present Long Count calendar. We cannot therefore speak of an exclusive ritual-symbolic imitation of the cosmogonic stories, which undermine the hypothesis that there was a renewal or recreation of time and/or the world through ritual acts performed at “period-ending dates”. But we must reflect upon the important cosmogonic performances of erecting and binding stones—according to the inscription on the east side of Stela C, Quirigua—which constituted important techniques of celebrating ritual practices of time in many classic Maya cities.

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