Maya words and glyphs for the colours

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The Maya had all the colours we know but only five colour glyphs have been deciphered: white (sak), black (ik’), yellow (k’an), red (chak) and blue/green (yax).   White / sak In Maya cosmology, the colour white is associated with the North    

Maya words and glyphs for the Cardinal Directions

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Cardinal Directions are the most commonly used forms of direction. and include North, South, East and West. The Mayan words for north, south, east and west are respectively xaman, nohol, lak’in and ochk’in. Below, two variations of the glyph for north (xaman):      

The sky and the earth

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Although it is often said that the ancient Maya had conceived of a layered heaven, there is only one word for “sky” in Mayan languages: kan (also written chan)      

Maya word for alligator

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The Mayas used the same word for various species of crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreleti) and caimans (Caiman crocodilus): A’ayin or Ahiin. The glyph for Ahiin is the stylised head of a crocodile with a cross in the eye:    

The Jaguar

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The Maya word for Jaguar (Panthera Onca) is Bahlam or B’alam. In classic Maya script, it could be written several ways: as a logogram representing the entire word      

Maya numbers and arithmetic

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As early as the Late Preclassic (ca 400 BC), the ancient Maya used a positional, vigesimal (base 20) notation involving the use of the mathematical concept “zero”, a truly great intellectual accomplishment and one of the earliest known instance of this concept in the world (the Europeans never invented the “zero”, they borrowed it from the […]

The White-nosed coati

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The white-nose coati (Nasua narica) is a relative of raccoons. It is also known as Coatmundi. In Mexico they call it Tejon, while it is called Pizote in Guatemala and in Costa Rica. The Maya name for the pizote is Chi’ik or Ch’we, but the Lacandon call it  Ts’uts’u.