Using an ancient Maya text as inspiration INCANTANTION is inspired by the original surviving Maya codices, in Paris, Dresden and Madrid in the Museo de America.
This handmade book, Codex style was folded, hand-illustrated and painted watercolour book is dual language; Maya and English translation. The images are referenced from the Madrid Codex, which I studied in detail when I lived in Madrid. They show deities of the culture.
Each page 130 X 188 mm, 16 pp; Total Length 2080 mm /Pen, watercolour, handmade tints on cartridge paper, framed.
This piece is an original Maya text detailing the destruction of the flood, symbolised by the snake seen in pages 1 and 2. The original Codex is on display in Madrid; the Maya associated colours with cardinal directions; Red is East, white is north, black is west and South is yellow.
Section XVII of the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel.
Inspired by research into the PreConquest Maya of Mesoamerica, I marvel at the mastery of this ancient culture and feel great shame for the loss of their art and manuscripts, burnt in their thousands by over zealous Spanish clergy in 1562. Only 3 Maya manuscripts (known as codices) survived this occasion, comprising concertina shaped paper books, over-painted with lime and then painted by an Ah Ts’ib (Scribe). Their function was to aid priests and shamans to predict, advise and rule on everyday matters. The Books of Chilam Balam are part of the surviving Maya literature, written in the Maya language and translated by Spanish clergy who attempted to covert them from their faith to Christianity in the 16th Century. By creating a Codex-style book, using a text from their holy book, I feel a reverence for a culture almost obliterated and a delight in drawing from these almost lost images.
Each Page 130 X 188 mm, 16 pp; Total Length 2080 mm /Pen, watercolour, handmade tints on paper.
A handmade Codex style book, illustrated with images from the surviving Madrid and Dresden Maya Codices. These books were made from the ficus tree, which grows in Mesoamerica, then coated with lime, then painted by the Maya Scribe or Ah Ts’ib. Then they were folded like a concertina and the Shamans could use the book for predictions, auguries and astrology for the newborn. The incantation is one part of The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, a document recorded by the Spanish clergy after the Conquest. It is a prophecy of Chilam Balam and each town made their own copy, eg The Book
of Mani, of Tizimin etc. 16 pages show the Maya text at the top and also use the Maya day name glyphs and numerals which can be seen at the top left of each page.