Antonio's Lacandon Pantheon and the ancient Maya : a comparative study
Source document: Religio. 2000, vol. 8, iss. 2, pp. -150
ISSN1210-3640 (print)2336-4475 (online)
License: Not specified license
The study is based on the field work of the author among the Lacandon Maya in Chiapas, Mexico, in the years 1999 and 2000. The most important informator of him was the religious leader - toohil of the northern Lacandons in the community Naha - Chan K'in Antonio. The study deals with his interpretation of the recent pantheon of the not christianized Lacandons. The author is focused on the iconography of gods, myths, folk etymology of their names, context of rituals and ceremonies, but also marginal notes and commentaries mentioned by Antonio in his descriptions. Following this structure the author further disscuss 11 deities, chosen from the far more numerous Lacandon pantheon on the base of their importancy according to Antonio himself. In fact they are the deities preferred by Antonio, nevertheless they play also an important role in the universal Lacandon pantheon as a whole. In the first part of analysis each of gods is characterized in detailes. In the second part the author searches his pendant in the pre-Columbian sources. The comparison stands upon the traditional approach in this branch introduced by A. M. Tozzer at the beginning of the 20th century and the results of comparative research of Robert Bruce from the second half of the 20th cetury. The author uses also results of own systematic researches combining them with rich consequences of classic and postclassic Maya religion research, which during the last decades turned a new light on some previously accepted facts and brought also many new details. The author's comparative effort brings a double benefit: primarily it helps to understand better some miscelanious Lacandon deities, as for instance K'akoch, Tub, Ak'inchob, Itzana, Itzanohk'uh; secondly the analysis of Lacandon god K'ak or goddesses Akna or Xtabay helps to interpret their too obscure antecedens from the postclassic period. In this connection the author stresses the fact that in such a comparison we face a bridge between the present and past time; this is aunique opportunity to remove white places on both sides. At the very end the author turns attention to the necessity to study Lacandon gods in their dynamic not static context. The Lacandons as a relatively izolated community with quite transparent processes of transformation could serve as a suitable laboratory for the searching of religious change in internal dosed polytheistic systems at all.