Maya Exhibition 2012 in Netherlands

In the midst of 2012 controversial issues and films, the awaited 2012 exhibition in Leiden, Netherlands, opened to the public on October 7, 2009, the exhibition “Maya 2012, het mysterie van een eeuwenoud volk” (Maya 2012, the mystery of a centuries old people) at the Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, the Netherlands, was presented to an invited audience and the press. On October 9, 2009, the exhibition was opened to the general public.

(From Maya News: Updates) The exhibition is centered around the theme of the well-known date, 4 Ajaw 3 Uniiw, a date which through the correlation constant 584,283 can be transposed to the Christian (Gregorian) date December 21, 2012. And that date has become of importance in recent years, in which many a “doomsday” scenario has been described.

The final part of the exhibition shows the one Classic Maya text (through an enlarged black-and-white drawing) that records the date, 4 Ajaaw 3 Uniiw in 2012 at Tortuguero Monument 6.

This text is the final part of a longer inscription (known as Monument 6, possibly a T-shaped wall panel) from the site of Tortuguero, located in the Mexican state of Tabasco. During its apogee in the Late Classic, the time period in which this text was produced (the main text records historical dates and events from A.D. 612 to A.D. 667; the side panel records a date in A.D. 510, after which a Distance Number follows to connect the event to A.D. 2012), the site had a strong connection with the site of Palenque (both royal houses employ the same paramount title), located in the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Several texts at Palenque, written during the reigns of various kings, refer to another date, the one on 4 Ajaaw 8 Oohl, or August 11, 3114 B.C. (same correlation, 584,283; Gregorian). The Maya scribes, as instructed by their royal patrons, recorded the mythical events before, on, and after that very early date. From these events, and the mythological participants in these events, the Palenque kings derived their royal legitimacy. However, these events concerning 4 Ajaaw 8 Oohl are only covered in short, summary statements, the precise meaning of some of these events still eludes us or are hieroglyphically transparent (we can decipher all glyphic parts) but in meaning it remains opaque (the resulting word has many meanings which may be applicable, or the word does not exist anymore). These particular texts, written and inscribed under the patronage of Palenque kings K’inich Kan Balam and K’inich Ahkuul Mo’ Naahb’ III, most intriguingly open with these events relative to, 4 Ajaaw 8 Oohl, in 3114 B.C.

The Tortuguero monument seems to do something comparable. The final part on the 2012 (actually date is very short, just 8 glyph blocks describe the date and the events that are related to this date. The much longer preceeding text (most probably when the monument was in one piece and T-shaped) covers over 175 glyph blocks detailing important events in the life of Tortuguero kings. Thus less than 10% of the text tells us, in the present-day, about, 4 Ajaaw 3 K’ank’in in 2012. If it was a wall panel, it would have been placed in a private setting and the contents of the text was not meant for eyes at all … More importantly, the, 4 Ajaaw 3 Uniiw, in 2012, date and events are recorded AT THE END of the text.

Where at Palenque the texts OPEN with events before, on, or just after, 4 Ajaaw 8 Oohl in 3114 B.C., the text at Tortuguero CLOSES with the events on, 4 Ajaaw 3 K’ank’in in 2012. The integration of these very important dates, calendrically but also mythologically, seems to be some kind of literary device. “From the olden times” (Palenque) to the “new times” (Tortuguero); these dates thus frame HISTORICAL events (the dates and events “in the middle”) and the kings that employ these dates, and record the associated events and the names of the mythological participants, derive their legitimacy from them.

So, what does that final event, in 2012, recorded at Tortuguero actually tell us? First of all, and very importantly, this part of the text suffers from erosion and breakage. This breakage even has resulted in the fact that parts of this text are housed at different locations in the world; part in a museum in Villahermosa, Mexico (where it is on exhibit), while another part resides in the USA in a private collection (luckily, there are photos … and no, I have not seen the fragment). But …. the final part of the text tells us that 13 calendrical periods named pik (aka. bak’tun) are completed on the date 4 Ajaaw 3 Uniiw. On this date something will happen (‘u-to-ma, for utoom), somewhere … but the name of the possible location is eroded (and epigraphers do not even agree if indeed this is the name of a location or that it spells something completely different). The text continues with what seems to be a spelling ye-ma, but which for the same calligraphic reasons (long inner lines and rotation of the sign; and considering erosion) may read ye-he (possibly a former je sign; at the end of the Classic period /j/ and /h/ merged). Both lead to viable readings, ye-ma to yemal “(is the) descent of” and ye-he to yehet/yeht perhaps meaning “together with” (research on the meaning of -eht continues, as does research on the root em-). What follows this statement is the name of a god, Balun Yokte’; in other texts his name is recorded in full as Balun Yokte’ K’uh, in which k’uh means “god” (and we now can enter a debate if the “god-concept” among the first Spanish frairs, who composed the earliest dictionaries in the 16th century, is the same as the “god-concept” among the Maya, or Mesoamerica for that matter).

Epigraphic research has shown that Balun Yokte’ K’uh is a god (…) who is connected to war and the transition of time periods. One text at Palenque even connects this god to an important mythological (read “not historical”, although now we can enter yet another debate) event some 900,000 years in the past. The final glyph block opens with the sign ta, probably spelling the preposition ta “in, for, with,” but what follows, the very last glyphic signs, nearly is eroded beyond recognition. Only a few inner lines remain, even the outher cartouches are incomplete.

The “prophecy” of 2012, that one Classic Maya text on the date, 4 Ajaaw 3 Uniiw, is incomplete. We have just sniblets on this date and its associated events. Not even story can be recorded in 8 glyph blocks, maybe just the main words of a much longer headline that recalls the story of what will happen on that date. Just as we have only fragmentary (but still more than …) information on that other date in Maya time reckoning,, 4 Ajaaw 8 Oohl, in 3114 B.C.
So, what happens after? Well, it all continues. Even the Maya told us. For instance, at Palenque king K’inich Janaahb Pakal records a date into the future and well after 2012. And with excavations going on in the Maya area most probably the next discovery brings us a new text and yet another pespective on these events described above, or any other event for that matter. We are learning, and we keep learning. As, 4 Ajaaw 3 Uniiw, is not the end of the Maya calendar or Maya culture or the world as we know it, let this date and its fascinating circumstances not be the end of our learning, understanding, and appreciation.

To visit the Museum’s website, click here.


NOTES FROM THE EDITOR: As you probably know our Director Lord Pakal Ahau was the one who extended the Tortuguero translation based on his knowledge of Maya epigraphy. In addition, Pakal has given us certain information codes to complete the translation mathematically but he will not elaborate in meaning of the 2012 Prophecy. Only he knows the outcome and he will not disclose further details of the famous Prophecy that includes his amazing reincarnation. Here are the cryptic mathematical codes he wanted us to include the blog:

– Why the Maya king B’ahlam Ajaw feared the local patron god Ahkal-K’uk’?

– How many days transcurred between the Creation date and the dedication of the panel in 669 CE? What important event happened in 510 CE?

– How many days and conjunctions  of Mars/Jupiter/Venus are between 669 CE and 2012?

– Why the King erected an underground shrine to hide the Tortuguero 6 panel?

– Why the Tortuguero panel ends in December 21, 2012 with a clear warning of Bolon Yokte Ku?

– Why Lord Pakal Ahau holds a plate that connects Tortuguero and Palenque with their Maya dynasties? (This plate was given to Lord Pakal by a Maya collectionist in New York in 2005 as he verified Lord Pakal Ahau is the right reincarnation of King Pakal of Palenque).

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