May 11, 2013 Gabrielle Vail, PhD, New College of Florida in Sarasota: Codex Workshop: "Venus Almanacs in the Maya and Borgia Group Codices" and Lecture: "Processions and Prognostications:  A New Reading of the Dresden and Madrid Yearbearer Pages"

Codex Workshop: "Venus Almanacs in the Maya and Borgia Group Codices"
    This workshop was designed for participants with an interest in Mesoamerican codices, deities, and mythology, with no prior experience working with the codices required.  The workshop focused on identifying calendrical, iconographic, and/or hieroglyphic references to Venus in codices painted by Maya and highland Mexican scribes during the Postclassic period.  Dr. Gabrielle Vail specializes in the study of Maya hieroglyphic texts, with an emphasis on prehispanic Maya ritual and religion as documented in screenfold manuscripts painted in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Dr Vail makes the Codices accessible and easily comprehended in her workshops.

Lecture: "Processions and Prognostications:  A New Reading of the Dresden and Madrid Yearbearer Pages"
         The yearbearer ceremonies, associated with the rituals marking the transition from one year to the next among prehispanic Maya cultures, have long been of interest to researchers studying the Maya codices.  Efforts have previously been focused on relating the imagery and hieroglyphic texts on the yearbearer pages to the description of these ceremonies recorded by Diego de Landa in the mid sixteenth century.  In his 1988 dissertation, Karl Taube made a profound breakthrough in our understanding of these ceremonies, proposing that they involved a re-enactment of the events leading to the creation of the present world:  the destruction of a previous Sun or era, and the re-birth or re-establishment of the world through the intervention of ritual participants. This lecture considered the implications of Taube’s proposal, while at the same time emphasizing new discoveries about the types of rituals undertaken and their relationship to the deity complex known as Bolon Yokte’ K’uh, who is also referenced in Classic period texts concerning the completion of the thirteenth b’ak’tun.  Additionally, a new reading of the hieroglyphic text on the Madrid yearbearer pages, coupled with an in depth analysis of the iconography included on these pages, reveals references to a mythological narrative involving the maize god and other primordial deities which underlies the ceremonial events depicted.
                                                                                                                                              
    Dr. Gabrielle Vail specializes in the study of Maya hieroglyphic texts, with an emphasis on prehispanic Maya ritual and religion as documented in screenfold manuscripts painted in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her research is highlighted in numerous print and online publications, as well as the online Maya Codices Database (www.mayacodices.org). Her recent publications include Astronomers, Scribes, and Priests: Intellectual Interchange between the Northern Maya Lowlands and Highland Mexico in the Late Postclassic Period, with Christine Hernández, and The New Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs, Volume 2: The Codical Texts ,with Martha Macri. Her forthcoming book,co-authored with Hernández, Re-Creating Primordial Time: Foundation Rituals and Mythology in the Postclassic Maya Codices, University Press of Colorado, provides a new interpretation of rituals portrayed in the Maya codices and their links to episodes related in Maya creation narratives. Dr. Vail received her Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1996 and holds a research and faculty position at New College of Florida in Sarasota, where she teaches courses on Native American cosmology, deciphering Maya hieroglyphic texts, and the astronomy of prehispanic cultures of Mesoamerica.

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