Page:Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx.djvu/67
The lines lightly etched here are painted blue in the original. As in our topographical maps the edges of the watercourses, of the sea and lakes, are painted blue, so the Maya hierogrammatist figured the shores of the Mexican Gulf, indicated by the serpent head. The three signs ‿ of locality, placed in the centre of said gulf, mark the site of the extinguished volcano known to-day as the Alacranes reefs. The serpent head was, for the Maya writers, typical of the sea, whose billows they compared to the undulations of a serpent in motion. They therefore called the ocean canah, a word whose radical is can, "serpent," the meaning of which is the "mighty serpent."
The lines of the drawing more strongly etched, the end of which corresponds to the sign , are painted red, the color of clay, kancab, and indicate the localities that were submerged and turned into marshes. This complex sign is formed of the emblem of countries near or in the water, and of the cross, made of dotted lines, symbol of the cracks and crevices made on the surface of the earth by the escaping gases, represented by the dots . . . . , and of small circles, , images of volcanoes. As to the character it is composed of two letters , equivalent to Maya and Greek letter A, so entwined as to form the character , equal to the Greek and Maya K, but forming a monogram that reads aac, the Maya word for "turtle."
Before proceeding with the etymology of the name Mayach, it may not be amiss to explain the legends and the other drawings of the tableau. It will be noticed that the characters over that part of the drawing which looks like the horizontal branch of a tree are identical with those placed vertically against the trunk, but in an inverted position. It is, in