Harappan Fish Signs

 

By

Dr. Clyde A. Winters

The Indus Valley seals provide its bearers with a code for living. Each seal contains messages to the bearer of the seal that provides seal bearer a guide for right conduct for themselves, throughout their life so they could obtain goodness and while they merge with God—the Absolute Reality.

The Harappan seals carry messages addressed to their Gods requesting support and assistance in obtaining aram ‘benevolence’.

As a result the Harappan seals are amulets or talismans requesting some form of blessing for its bearer, from his personal god. These request sentences were formed in simple phrases like those found in Tiru Kural/ Holy Kural written by the weaver Saint Tiruvalluvar. The Harappan request sentences were formed by a simple verb, and additional introductory elements.

Harappan seals were found in almost every room excavated . This indicates that writing was well known among the Harappans. This view is further supported by the appearance of Harappan signs on many different types of artifacts, including pottery, axes and copper plates.

Harappan texts are very short. They usually number three to four signs per seal. In this way the Harappan seals are similar to the later Indian seals and their

inscriptions studied by K.K. Thapliiyal, in Studies in ancient Indian seals .The seals have only a few signs because each Harappan symbol represented one or more words.

Harappan texts are found on over 400 inscribed seals. The seals were amulets, tied with string and carried/worn by the Harappan people. The Harappan writing is read from right to left.

Each Harappan sign has a syllabic value. Due to the monosyllabic nature of the Dravidian language spoken among the Harappans, each sign represented a word.

Researchers have determined that the Harappan or Indus Valley script has around 419 signs. Of these 419 signs 113 occur only once, 47 occur twice and 59 occur les than 5 times. This means that around 200 Harappan signs, most of them ligatures, were in general use.

The Harappan seals have been found at over 60 different sites. The copper plates of the Harappans have only been found at Mohenjo-Daro.

There are two major types of Harappan seals, one type square with short inscription above a carved animal motif. The second type of seal is rectangular and contains only an inscription.

The seals range in size from a half-inch to around two-and-half inches. Ninety percent of the seals are square, and 10 percent are rectangular.

The seals are carved from steatite. Each seal had a raised boss on the back pierced with a hole for carrying or being placed on parcels.

Figure 1: The Basic Harappan Signs 

The Harappan writing system is a logo-syllabic system. The Harappan signs record messages to the seal bearer on right living and goodness. The animal motifs were used to express the Dravidian deities of the Harappans. My research indicates that the Harappan script consist of 60-70 basic syllabic signs and 10

idiographic signs(see Figure 1). These signs are joined together to form the majority of the 419 signs associated with Harappan writing. Study and learning of these 62 basic signs will allow one to read practically all of the Indus Valley seals.

The Indus Valley writing because it is logo-syllabic contains signs that are CV (consonant-vowel) and CVC type morphemes. The Harappan words were monosyllabic.

In the Harappan writing there are only a few ideographic signs. The most common ideographic signs are min ‘illumination’ and āl ‘maintain, keep; laborer; cherish; servant; to rule’.

The Harappan signs are clear and straight rectilinear signs. The script shows little evolution in shape and size from the writing used by other Proto-Saharan people in Sumer, Elam, the Fezzan in Africa and Minoan Crete. The average length of the seal text is half a dozen signs, the longest seal text is of 26 signs.

In the Harappan seals the talismanic formula was : Depiction of Deity X as an animal, and then a votive inscription was written above the Deity.

In the seal above we see a depiction of the Harappan God Mal (Vishnu or Katavu. Under the head of the God Mal we see a symbol many researchers call a Manger. The manger is composed of three signs pū i pā , the words pū i pā mean “A flourishing condition thou distribute (it)” or “Thou distribute a flourishing condition”.

Many Harappan signs are homophones. As a result of homophony in Harappan writing the person attempting to decipher, or read a particular Harappan sign must carefully observe the general semantics of each inscription.

The order of the Harappan sentence is verb object subject (VOS). Each Harappan sentence has a noun phrase (NP) , verb phrase (VP) and an article (art.). For example:

Reading the signs from left to right beginning with the circle sign we read:

Ta vey e ta ippo Uss pā ta ‘ Give (me) awareness, give (it) now. Fate give (its) distribution’.

Reading from right to left we have Ta(r) ya i tū ta ‘ Ye who binds, thou bring virtue here’.

Below we list the basic Harappan signs and their meanings. The meanings of these signs come from T. Burrow and M.B. Emeneau’s A Dravidian 

Etymological Dictionary1 and K. Appadurai’s The Mind and Thought of Tiruvalluvar . The Harappan signs are given the phonetic value of the signs recorded in the Vai script, a writing system used by the Mande speaking people of West Africa. Although the Harappan signs are given the phonetic values of the Vai characters, the phonetic values are read using Dravidian (Tamil) morphemes. For example, Appadurai said that in the Tiru Kural, the term Uzh > Uss corresponds to the ‘Life Power aspect of Fate’, while word pā during the writing of the Tolkappiyam denoted Karma. In Sangam times pāl was considered the sum and the consequences of a person’s action, i.e., his fate, destiny’. The term pāl was also used by Tiruvalluvar to denote ‘fate or the law of nature’.

List of Basic Harappan Signs

uy, ‘soul, to live, to subsist, have being, salvation, to ensure, to be relieved

(from trouble), escape from danger

a,

aga vey, ‘equality in bloom’; ‘mayest thou blossom (on me)’

1 A digital version of T. Burrow and M.B. Emeneau’s A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary can be found on the web at

http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/burrow/. This digital version does not contain all the definitions of Dravidian words found in the hard copy.

agappal, ‘Inner Path’

tu ga vey, ‘make virtue bloom’

al, ‘maintain, keep, maintain in use; laborer, servant; manage, to rule, reign

over ; man’

a min

and annal , ‘superiority, righteousness, greatman; greatness, king,

god’

ga or lu

I, -I, this particle has many usese in Harappan, it means ‘to give’, it can also be used to as the past tense formative, e.g., pā-I ‘do not divide’; thou, you; the demonstrative ‘this’, the inflexion of neuter nouns; and ‘give it, permit, to let’.

i-ka, ‘thou to preserve’

i-po, ‘give richness; give (its) birth; give a flourishing condition’

ippo, ‘Now’

ka , ‘balance, equality; to preserve, shelter, watch, guard, ward off, rescue,

protect; forest; protection, protector, guardian’

ka annal, ‘preserve righteousness’

Kaka, ‘deliverance , protection; safe keeping’

ka vey, ‘equality in bloom; pleasure grove blossom; paradise bloom’

terul, ‘ to know, gain true knowledge, perceive, ascertain, understand

clearly; be clean, lucid, intelligence, wisdom, comprehension’

kumari, ‘paradise’

ta, ‘to give, to bring’

ga, ‘mayest’

me , ‘truth, reality, soul consciousness, excellence; to excel, surpass’

min , ‘illumination, to shine, glitter; phosphorescent, glow’

min-i, ‘thou illumination’ or ‘illumination give it’

nil, ‘steadfast; to stand, to be long, to be great; loftiness’

and pa, ‘Karma, destiny; to divide, to distribute; -pa plural

termination; a term that corresponds to the personal

impersonal aspects of God, God as a Friend and Guide, and

God as Compassion and as Dispenser of Mercy’

pa-I , ‘give distribution of God’s Mercy’; give the distribution; thou distribute

pāpā, true it is, indeed; distribute God’s Mercy’

papapa, ‘Indeed distribute much of God’s Mercy’

po, ‘to go, proceed, go away; reach a distination; richness, flourishing

condition, flower bloom; to create, give birth; -i the formative particle

popo / pupu, ‘create/ give birth to a flourishing condition’

and puka, ‘glory, fame, equality, equality of division

say or sey, ‘straightness, righteousness, merit, rectitude; v. to do, make,

create, cause; deed, act, action; uprightness, incororruptibility,

honorableness, high character’

, and tā, ‘to give, to bring; here, place; blemish, defect; -ta the

imperative suffix.

tā pāpā,

tar ya, ‘Ye who binds’

tātā, ‘large, broad, full; greatness, glory; bestow on me greatness’

tar pasu, ‘ye distribute’

tā tā, large, broad, full; greatness, glory; bestow on (me) greatness,

tū tū, ‘abundant virtue, abundant purity’

tū Uss, ‘Virtuous Fate’

tū ga vey, ‘make virtue bloom’

tuppu, cleanliness, purification

u , demonstrative ‘this’, verb: ‘to bring’, it can also represent the singular

ending particle -u.

(uzh) uss, Fate, Power of God, Law of Nature (This was a generic term

used to denote the power of God, expressed in terms of justice).

u- tūtū, ‘to put (on), surround, encircle; utātā ‘to bring greatness, to bring

glory’

uy ta, ‘Salvation’

vēy, to come, put on, roof; blossom, open; Florence, growth, development’

terul, ‘knowledge’; i pa ‘give perfection’,

(y)e

Learn these Harappan terms and you will be able to read most Harappan the Harappan seals.

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African Origin of Olmecs: Science and Myth

 

 African Origin of Olmecs: 

Science and Myth 

• 

 

Research is the foundation of good science, or knowing in general. There are four methods of knowing 1) Method of tenacity (one holds firmly to the truth, because “they know it” to be true); 2) method of authority (the method of established belief, i.e., the Bible or the “experts” says it, it is so); 3) method of intuition (the method where a proposition agrees with reason, but not necessarily with experience); and 4) the method of science (the method of attaining 

knowledge which calls for self-correction). To explain Africans in ancient America, I use the scientific method which calls for hypothesis testing, not only supported by experimentation, but also that of alternative plausible hypotheses that, may place doubt on the original hypothesis. 

The aim of science is theory construction (F.N. Kirlinger, Foundations of behavior research, (1986) pp.6-10; R. Braithwaite, Scientific explanation, (1955) pp.1-10). A theory is a set of interrelated constructs, propositions and definitions, that provide a systematic understanding of phenomena by outlining relations among a group of variables that explain and predict phenomena. 

Scientific inquiry involves issues of theory construction, control and experimentation. Scientific knowledge must rest on testing, rather than mere induction which can be defined as inferences of laws and generalizations, derived from observation. This falsity of logical possibility is evident in the rejection of the African origin of the Olmecs hypothesis. Just because these people may live in the Olmec heartland today, says very little about the inhabitants of this area 3000 years ago. 

Karl Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, rejects this form of logical validity based solely on inference and conjecture (pp. 33-65). 

Popper maintains that confirmation in science, is arrived at through falsification. 

Therefore to confirm a theory in science one test the theory through rigorous attempts at falsification. In falsification the researcher uses cultural, linguistic, anthropological and historical knowledge to invalidate a proposed theory. If a theory can not be falsified through yes of the variables associated with the theory it is confirmed. It can only be disconfirmed when new generalizations associated with the original theory fail to survive attempts at falsification. 

In short, science centers on conjecture and refutations. Many commentators maintain that the Olmecs weren’t Africans. In support of this conjecture they maintain: 1) Africans first came to America with Columbus; 2) Amerindians live in Mesoamerica; 3) the Olmec look like the Maya; 4) linguistic groups found in the Olmec heartland have always lived in areas they presently inhabit. These are all logical deduction, but they are mainly nonfalsifiable and therefore unscientific. 

Granted we see Zoquean and Maya speakers in Olmecland today. But the linguistic evidence of Swadesh indicate that they were not in this area 3000 years ago when a new linguistic group appears to have entered the area. 

Secondly, any comparison of Mayans depicted in Mayan art, and the Olmec people depicted in Olmec art especially the giant heads, indicate that these people did not look alike http://geocities.com/Athens/Academy/8919/heads.htm 

Some people claim that they have seen Olmec figures that look like contemporary native Americans. This may be true but practically all of the Olmec figures look African. At the following site I compare the Mayan type and the African type: 

http://www.geocities.com/olmec982000/olwrit.htm.htm 

Many contemporary Mexicans look like Africans or Blacks because of the slave trade, which brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to Mexico to work in the mines and perform other task for their masters. A Cursory examination of these pictures of the Maya show that the ancient Maya look nothing like the Olmecs. How do they explain the fact that the Olmec look nothing like the Mayan people, if the Olmec were “indigenous” people they talk about. 

Comparison of Olmec and Mayan Figures 

Moreover, just because Africans may have come to America with Columbus, does not prove that they were not here before Columbus. 

Yet, subscription to these theories is logical, but logical assurance alone, is not good science. 

Logically we could say that because Amerindians live in the Olmec heartland today, they may have lived in these areas 3000 years ago. But, the evidence found by Swadesh, an expert on the Mayan languages, of a new linguistic group invading the Olmec heartland 3000 years ago; and the lack of congruence between Olmec and Mayan art completely falsifies the conjectures of the Amerindian origin of the Olmec theorists. The opposite theory, an African origin for the Olmecs, deserves testing. 

Some researchers claim that there is no scientific basis for the ability of African people to have remained unabsorbed in America. This is totally false there are many reports of Black tribes living in America when Europeans arrived in the New World. 

The scientific evidence supports the African origin and perpetuation of an Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica from 1200 BC, up to around 400 AD. Let’s examine this theory. My hypothesis is that the Olmec people were Africans. There are five variables that support this theorem. They are: the following variables: 1) African scripts found during archaeological excavation; 2) the Malinke-Bambara origin of the Mayan term for writing; 3) cognate iconographic representations of African and Olmec personages; 4) the influence of Malinke-Bambara 

cultural and linguistic features on historic Mesoamerican populations; and 5) the presence of African skeletal material excavated from Olmec graves in addition to many other variables. The relation between these five variables or a combination of these variables explains the African origin of the Olmecs. 

Let’s begin with the skeletal evidence. Some researchers maintain that the African was not indigenous to America. Although you make this claim you fail to acknowledge that in addition to Wiercinski’ analysis of the Olmec skeletons, many other researchers including C.C. Marquez, Estudios arqueologicos y ethnografico (Madrid,1920), Roland B. Dixon, The racial history of Man (N.Y.,1923) and Ernest Hooton, Up from the Ape (N.Y.,1931) and the Luzia remains make it clear that Africans were in the Americas before the native Americans crossed the Bearing Sea. 

Supporters of the Native American origin of the Olmecs speak of people being absorbed by the Native Americans. Yet we know from the expansion of the Europeans in the Western Hemisphere, Eventhough the Native Americans outnumbered these people, they are in decline while the Europeans have prospered and multiplied. 

There is skeletal evidence of Africans in Olmecland. The evidence of Wiercinski craniometrics have not been dissected and disputed. 

http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Bay/7051/content.html

Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that the some of the Olmecs were of African origin. He supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type black. Wiercinski discovered that 13.5 percent of the skeletons from Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the skeletons from Cerro de las Mesas were Africoid (Rensberger,1988; Wiercinski, 1972; Wiercinski & Jairazbhoy 1975). 

Diehl and Coe (1995, 12) of Harvard University have made it clear that until a skeleton of an African is found on an Olmec site he will not accept the art evidence that the were Africans among the Olmecs. This is rather surprising because Constance Irwin and Dr. Wiercinski (1972) have both reported that skeletal remains of Africans have been found in Mexico. Constance Irwin, in Fair Gods and Stone Faces, says that anthropologist see “distinct signs of Negroid ancestry in many a New World skull….” 

Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that some of the Olmecs were of African origin. He supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type black. Many Olmec skulls show cranial deformations (Pailles, 1980), yet Wiercinski (1972b) was able to determine the ethnic origins of the Olmecs. Marquez (1956, 179-80) made it clear that a common trait of the African skulls found in Mexico 

include marked prognathousness ,prominent cheek bones are also mentioned. Fronto-occipital deformation among the Olmec is not surprising because cranial deformations was common among the Mande speaking people until fairly recently (Desplanges, 1906). 

Many African skeletons have been found in Mexico. Carlo Marquez (1956, pp.179-180) claimed that these skeletons indicated marked pronathousness and prominent cheek bones. 

Wiercinski found African skeletons at the Olmec sites of Monte Alban, Cerro de las Mesas and Tlatilco. Morley, Brainerd and Sharer (1989) said that Monte Alban was a colonial Olmec center (p.12). 

Diehl and Coe (1996) admitted that the inspiration of Olmec Horizon A, common to San Lorenzo’s iniitial phase has been found at Tlatilco. Moreover, the pottery from this site is engraved with Olmec signs. 

According to Wiercinski (1972b) Africans represented more than 13.5 percent of the skeletal remains found at Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the Cerro remains (see Table 2). Wiercinski (1972b) studied a total of 125 crania from Tlatilco and Cerro. 

There were 38 males and 62 female crania in the study from Tlatilco and 18 males and 7 females from Cerro. Whereas 36 percent of the skeletal remains were of males, 64 percent were women (Wiercinski, 1972b). 

To determine the racial heritage of the ancient Olmecs, Dr. Wiercinski (1972b) used classic diagnostic traits determined by craniometric and cranioscopic methods. These measurements were then compared to a series of three crania sets from Poland, Mongolia and Uganda to represent the three racial categories of mankind. 

In Table 1, we have the racial composition of the Olmec skulls. The only European type recorded in this table is the Alpine group which represents only 1.9 percent of the crania from Tlatilco. Table 1.Olmec Races 

Racial Type 

Tlatilco 

Norm Percent 

Cerro de Mesas 

Norm Percent 

Subpacific 

Dongolan 

Subainuid 

Pacific 

Armenoid 

Armenoid-Bushman 

Anatolian 

Alpine 

Ainuid 

Ainuid-Arctic 

Laponoid-Equatorial 

 

20 38.5 

10 19.2 

 

7 13.5 

4 7.7 

2 3.9 

2 3.9 

2 3.9 

1 1.9 

1 1.9 

1 1.9 

1 1.9 

 

7 63.6 

— —- 

 

3 27.3 

— —- 

— —- 

1 9.1 

— — 

— — 

— — 

— — 

— — 

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The Back and side inscriptions on the Pokotia Monolith By Dr. C. A. Winters

Pokotia Monument

 

The Pokotia monolith was discovered by Bernardo Biados, Freddy Arce, Javier Escalente, Cesar Calisaya, Leocadio Ticlla, Alberto Vasquez, Alvaro Fernholz, Omar Sadud, Paulo Batuani and Rodrigo Velasco on January 4, 2002. This discovery and other research done by these scientist is supported by the Honorable H. Enrique Enrique Toro, President of the Congress of Bolivia.

 

Originally it was believed that there was an inscription written only on the front legs of the monolith, further research indicated that there was also an inscription on the back of the statue and directly below the left hand of the figure.

 

Inscription on back of Pokotia Monolith

 

The researchers also found another inscription under the hand of the Pokotia figure.

 

 

Inscription under the hand of the Pokotia Monolith

 

The inscriptions on the Pokotia figure are written in the Sumerian language. The signs used to write the messages on the Pokotia monolith were non-liguture Proto-Sumerian symbols.

 

 

The inscription under the hand on the Pokotia figure is very interesting. It consist of twelve signs.

 

 

Transliteration:

 

Mi

 

Putaki

 

Zi

 

yu u

 

ka ka mi

 

i ka be i

 

Translation

 

” The oracle Putaki conducts man to truth. (This) esteemed (and) precious oracle to sprout esteem, (now) witness (its) escape”.

 

 

 

The Decipherment of the back inscription of Putaki is below. The writing on the back is written in Proto-Sumerian. The language used to read the inscriptions was Sumerian.

 

“Proclaim the establishment of character. The strong father (Putaki) to send forth the devination. Strong wisdom (in this) phenomenal area of the deity’s power. Capture the speech (of the oracle) . (The oracle is ) very strong to benefit (and) nourish the sprouting (of) character. Tell human being(s) (the oracle’s) benefit. The oracle to open (up) much (benefit for all).”

 

” The ideal norm (is the) oracle (of Putaki). (This) oracle is (in) a phenomenal area of the deity’s power”. Distribute to all humanity (the divine decree). Snare a portion (of the) pure voice. (The oracle to) send forth gladness. Agitate the mouth (of the oracle), to send forth the divination. The diviner speaks good.”

Or

” The ideal norm (is this) oracle. (This) oracle (gives) divine decree.Distribute to all humanity (the divine decree). Snare a portion (of the) pure voice. (The oracle to) send forth gladness. Agitate the mouth (of the oracle), to send forth the divination. The diviner speaks good.”

 

“The divine decree to become visible and glisten (from the oracle’s own) mouth. Open up the divination. Agitate the oracle (to) send forth (now) wisdom and character. Open (the oracle) to distribute the divine decree (for all it is) lawful and righteous Good. Send forth the sustenance of the pure oracle. Stand upright (Oh oracle) to appear as a witness speaking purity. The oracle (of Putaki) to open (up and) send forth gladness and character”.

 

“(Putaki) speaks (in) true measure, to send forth gladness (for all). Send forth nourish(ment). (The oracle Putaki is) the father of wisdom (and) benefit (for all). (The oracle) to become a visible witness of the diving decree and knowledge. (This) pure oracle speaks the divine decree (and) makes (it) a visible witness (of the deity’s power).”

 

Commentary

 

The inscriptions on the back of the Pokotia statue define the role of the Putaki oracle in the community. It would appear that the people should recognize this oracle as a source of “truth” and glad tidings. Its additional role was to establish rigtheousness, wisdom and good character for the members of the community who might use this oracle to communicate with the gods.

Throughout this inscription the Putaki oracle is called the “father”. For example, in column 1, it was written that: “Proclaim the establishment of chracter. The strong father (Putaki) to send forth the divination”. And, in column 4, we discover that [Putaki is] the father of wisdom (and) benefit (for all). This suggest that Putaki was recognized as the great ancestor of other oracles in the region.

This suggest that offspring of this oracle was probably situated in other parts of Peru-Bolivia, where the people went to divine the future, communicate with the gods or ancestors, or simply obtain blessing and glad tidings from the oracle.

 

 

Bolivia Inscriptions Links

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The Decipherment of the Fuente Magna Bowl

In 1958/60 Don Max Portugal Zamora, a Bolivian archaeologist, learned of the Fuente Magna bowl’s existence. Pastor Manjon, Mr. Portugal “baptized” the site with the name it bears today, “Fuente Magna”.

 

The Fuente Magna bowl was found in a rather casual fashion by a country peasant from the ex-hacienda CHUA, property of the Manjon family situated in the surrounding areas of Lake Titicaca about 75/80 km from the city of La Paz. The site where it was found has not been subject to investigation until recently. The piece in question is a little out of place. It is beautifully engraved in chestnut-brown both inside and out. It reveals zoological motifs and anthropomorphic characters within.

Controversy surrounds the writing on the Fuente Magna Bowl. Dr. Alberto Marini, translated the cuneiform writing on the bowl and discovered that these inscriptions were written in the Sumerian writing.

After a careful examination of the Fuente Magna, linear writing I determined that the writing was probably Proto-Sumerian. The Proto-Sumerian writing is found on many artifacts discovered in Mesopotamia. An identical script was used by the Elamites called Proto-Elamite.

Many researchers have been unable to read the writing because they refuse to compare Proto-Elamite and Proto-Sumerian writing with other writing systems used in 3000-2000 BC. I have compared the writing to the Libyco-Berber writing used in the Sahara 5000 years ago. This writing was used by the Proto-Dravidians (of the Indus Valley), Proto-Mande , Proto-Elamites and Proto-Sumerians.

All of these people formerly lived in Middle Africa, until the Sahara began to dry up after 3500 BC. Rawlinson, was sure that the Sumerians had formerly lived in Africa, and he used Semitic and African languages spoken in Ethiopia to decipher the cuneiform writing. Rawlinson called the early dwellers of Mesopotamia: Kushites, because he believed that the ancestors of these people were the Western Kushites of Classical literature.

The Libyco-Berber writing cannot be read using the Berber language, because the Berbers only entered Africa around the time the Vandals conquered much of North Africa. Although the Libyco-Berber writing can not be read using the Berber language it can be read using the Mande language. This results from the fact that the Proto-Mande formerly lived in Libya, until they migrated from this area into the Niger valley of West Africa.

The Vai writing have signs similar to the Libyco-Berber, Indus valley, Linear A of Crete, Proto-Elamite and Proto-Sumerian signs. The Vai people spoke a Mande language.

Figure 1: Comparison of Fuente, Proto-Sumerian and Vai Writing

 

Figure 2:: Comparison of Fuente, Proto-Sumerian and Vai Writing

 Using the phonetic values of the Vai script, I have been able to decipher the Indus Valley and Linear A writing.

Given the fact that the Sumerian language is closely related to the Dravidian and Mande languages, and the similarity between the Proto-Sumerian script and the Libyco-Berber and Vai scripts, suggested that I might be able to decipher the Fuente Magna writing by using the phonetic values of the Vai script to transliterate the Fuente Magna writing. Once I transliterated the Fuente Magna signs, I translated the inscription using the Sumerian language.

To test this hypothesis I compared the Fuente Magna writing and symbols from the Vai writing. I found many matches. Next I consulted several works on the Sumerian language and writing system. A couple of these works were C.S. Ball, Chinese and Sumerian (London ,1913), and John A. Halloran, Sumerian Lexicon,http://www.sumerian.org/sumer/ex.htm . Once this was done I was able to decipher the Fuente Magna writing.

The Fuente Magna inscriptions are written in the Proto-Sumerian script. The Fuente Magna symbols have several Proto-Sumerian signs joined together to represent words and sentences. In figures 1 and 2, I separate the Fuente Magna signs into there constituent parts so they could be interpreted using the phonetic values of the Vai writing. In Figure 4 , I present a copy of the separation of the Fuente Magna signs into their separate parts.

Figure 4: Copy of worksheet used in decipherment of Fuente Magna Writing

Below is a transliteration of the inscriptions on the right side of the bowl. We are reading the inscriptions from top to bottom, right to left.

Transliteration

1. Pa ge gi

2. Mi lu du

3. I mi ki

4. me su du

5. Nia po

6. Pa

7. Mash

8. Nia mi

9. Du lu gi

10. Ka me lu

11. Zi

12. Nan na pa-I

Below I provide the translation in English

“(1) Girls take an oath to act justly (this) place. (2) (This is) a favorable oracle of the people. (3) Send forth a just divine decree. (4) The charm (this bowl) (is) full of Good. (5) The (Goddess) Nia is pure. (6) Take an oath (to her). (7) The Diviner. (8) The divine decree of Nia (is) , (9) to surround the people with Goodness/Gladness. (10) Value the people’s oracle. (11) The soul (to), (12) appear as a witness to the [Good that comes from faith in the Goddess Nia before] all mankind.”

 

Figure 3: The Fuente Magna Bowl

Below is a transliteration of the inscriptions on the left side of the Fuente Magna bowl. As in the earlier inscriptions we are reading the signs from top to bottom, right to left.

 

Transliteration Left Side Inscription

1. Tu ki a mash pa

2a. Lu me lu ki mi

2b. Pa be ge

3. Zi

4. lu na

5. ge

6. du po

7. I tu po

8. lu mi du

Translation

” (1) Make a libation (this) place for water (seminal fluid???) and seek virtue. (2a) (This is ) a great amulet/charm , (2b) (this) place of the people is a phenomenal area of the deity [Nia’s] power. (3) The soul (or breath of life). (4) Much incense, (5) to justly, (6) make the pure libation. (7) Capture the pure libation (/or Appear (here) as a witness to the pure libation) . (8) Divine good in this phenomenal proximity of the deity’s power.”

This decipherment of the Fuente Magna bowl indicates that this bowl was used by the

People at Fuente Magna to make libations to the Goddess Nia to request fertility, and offer thanks to the bountiful fauna and flora in the area which made it possible for these Sumerian explorers to support themselves in Bolivia.

It is interesting that the people at Fuente Magna, referred to the Goddess as Nia. Nia, is the Linear A term for Neith. Neith, is the Greek name for the Egyptian Goddess Nt or Neit, Semitic Anat. This goddess was very popular among the ancient people of Libya and other parts of Middle Africa, before these people left the region to settle Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Minoan Crete.

This decipherment of the Fuente Bowl (Figure 3) supports the hypothesis of Awen Dawn that the bowl was used to celebrate the Goddess aspect of the ancient people of Bolivia. The fact that Awen accurately recognized that the figure on the bowl due its Goddess pose : open arms and legs spread, is further support for this decipherment.

Moreover, the identification of symbols on the bowl by Awen, that relate to European signs for the Mother Goddess probably relate to the early influence of Neith on the mainland of Greece and Crete.

The Fuente Magna bowl was probably created by Sumerian people who settle in Bolivia sometime after 2500 BC. The Sumerians had boats that sailed all the way to India-Pakistan. The Sumerians may have made their way around South Africa and entered one of the currents in the area which lead from Africa to South America. These Sumerians were then carried across the Atlantic Ocean by currents to South America (Bolivia).

 

 

 

 

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The Vai Writing System

Maurice Delafosse mentions that he consulted many literate Vai who claimed that the Vai script was ancient. These Vai also told him that the Vai system of writing was still being used in the mountains to the north. Delafosse did not believe this claim. But he does mention the Vai tradition for an ancient origin of the Vai writing.

 

The informants mentioned by Delafosse were correct. Many marks similar to those contained in the Vai script were found in the mountains further north in the Grotte de Goundaka and even the Sahara which point to the ancient origin of the Vai inscriptions .

Below we have the Vai writing system

 

The informants mentioned by Delafosse were correct. Many marks similar to those contained in the Vai script were found in the mountains further north in the Grotte de Goundaka and even the Sahara which point to the ancient origin of the Vai inscriptions (See M.E. Paris, “Recherches sur l’origine de marques di tribus”, Bull de l’IFAN, ser B.(1953) pp. 1619-1632; and G. Szumowski, “Vestiges prehistoriques dans la region de Bandiagara”, Notes Africaine, (1955) pp. 19-23).

The Vai tradition for an ancient origin of this syllabary recorded by Delafosse was confirmed by the Oued Mertoutek inscription. This inscription is written in Libyco-Berber which was the ancient writing of thge Mande people.

The Libyco-Berber inscriptions predate the inscriptions you discuss above. Lionel Galand, Inscriptions Libyques (Paris,1968,) and H. Lhote, Les Touaregs du Hoggar (Paris,1944, ) discussed these ancient inscriptions. Both Lhote (pp.141-145) and Galand (p.11) made it clear that Libyco-Berber inscriptions were definately not written in Libyan (Punic, Numidian, etc.) or Taureg . The fact that they can be read in Mande support the ancient Mande origin for this writing.

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Olmec Kings By Clyde A. Winters,

The Olmec inscriptions record the names and deeds of many political officials, religious leaders and Kings (Winters, 1997). The Olmec inscriptions indicate that each Olmec town was ruled by either a governor or King, and that their was a recognized religious leader for the entire community (Winters, 1997).

The Olmec King was usually referred to as Tu. The Olmec term for governor was Ku. Interestingly, some of the Olmec rulers were referred to as the Ku and Tu. This may suggest that the Olmec civilization may have been organized into a confederation of city-states lead by a recognized emperor .

The Olmec emperor may have appointed the local government heads or Ku (governors). The fact that some Olmec rulers referred to themselves as Ku Tu, or both governor and King may reflect the Olmec Emperor’s appointment of conquered Kings as governors over Olmec cities they formerly mastered as a result of divine right.

One the most interesting Olmec historical documents is the Mask from Rio Pesquero Veracruz.

 

 

According to the inscriptions on the mask, it was worn by Bada, who was recognized as the local Ku and chief La (leader of the stone mason’s caste) (Gutherie, 1995: 268, illustration No.186).

Between 900-600 BC one of the major rulers at Guerrero was Po Ngbe (Gutherie, 1995: 231, illustration No.127). There is also an important tablet from Ahuelican, Guerrero of mottled green stone that also mentions King Po Ngbe, and his building of a great temple at his site.

The Guerrero celt makes it clear that Po Ngbe was recognized as a member of the craftsmen caste. He was ruler of the place where these artifacts were found.

This celt also makes it clear that Po Ngbe was probably buried in a pyramid. This view is supported by the Ahuelican, Guerrero Tablet. This artifact was made of the same stone as the Teo mask and the Guerrero celt.

Recently a mask of Po Ngbe was recently discovered and published. The mask of Po Ngbe has an inscription written on the inside of the mask.

On the back of the Teo mask we find an inscription. The are six columns of text on the Teo mask. Some researchers refer to this writing as Epi-Olmec or Isthmian. In reality this is just the heiroglyphic form of Olmec writing. This form of writing combines two or more singular Olmec signs to form messages.

In the first column of the Teo Mask inscription we read the following:“(1) Cause (here) the conferring of all virtue to this very good abode.(2)Admiration indeed (Oh) Governor. Indeed (you are) wonder. (3) Thou (art) a spirit of tranquility .(4) (Thou art like) the Jaguar (a master of the bush).(5) Righteousness takes root here in this tomb of (6) Na Po Ngbe.(7) This habitation of the devotee (is) a habitation of propriety. (8) Order (Na Po Ngbe) this object of respect to be an envoy on a mission (9) (to) hold upright purity. He who is a powerful spirit (in) thine tomb.(10) Righteousness takes root here (in your) tomb.(11) [Na Po Ngbe] A boundless source of great spiritual tranquility (your) abode. The tomb is powerful.(12) lay low (the celebrity) [in the tomb] to realize spiritual tranquility.”

One of the most interesting political elites of the Olmec was Bu. Bu is the kneeling figure from Veracruz, known as the “Shaman in Transformation” (Gutherie, 1995: 169-170).

In reading the inscription on the head of this figure, we discover that Bu was a member of the stone mason caste, who later became governor of Veracruz.

The major Epi-Olmec inscriptions have also been deciphered (Winters, 1997). These inscriptions are found in Jaguar Pyramids found under Mayan pyramids.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Olmec played a prominent role in the rise of Mayan civilization. In Guatemala, we find jaguar stucco masks on the pyra­mids of EI Mirador Structure 34, Cerros Structure 5C-2nd, E-VII Sub at Takalik Uxaxatun, and Structure 5D 22-2nd at Tikal. These jaguar masks are identical to Olmec jaguar masks: Stela C Tres Zapotes, the La Venta Sarcophagus, and Monu­ment 15 La Venta. In this presentation, we test the hypothesis that there is a corre­lation between the pre-Classic Guatemalan writing and the (Epi)Olmec writing of Mexico. The purpose of this project is to compare these symbols to fully decipher the inscriptions of Guatemala, and to learn more about the religious and politi­cal system of the pre-Classic Guatemalans.

There are interesting Epi-Olmec inscriptions associated with the San Bartolo mural. The San Bartolo mural is identical to the faces on the Chalchuapa, EI Salvador Olmec Maize God (Clark & Pye [2000] 312), and the figure wearing the maize god mask of La Venta Monument 44 (Clark & Pye [2000] 302). The results of the research indicate that the hieroglyphics associated with Guatemalan ancient tombs and the monuments from EI Baul, Abaj Takalik, Chiapa de Corzo, and Tres Zapotes have Maya type glyphs and are different from Classic Mayan writing but identical to the (Epi)Olmec signs on the side panel of the Mojara monument.

The San Bartolo, Guatemala murals are very beautiful they were discovered by William Saturno of the University of New Hampshire. These murals were found in an unexcavated pyramid. Entering a looter’s trench Dr. Saturno dug into the pyramid and discovered the murals. Much of the mural was destroyed when the Maya built another pyramid over the original structure. In the San Bartolo mural we see pictures of the coronation of an Epi Olmec King

.

The San Bartolo pyramid has two murals. One of the murals is of a procession of people on a boat . The other mural is of King Tali, sitting on his pyramid.

On the boat there are a number of figures. Moving from right to left we see four standing figures nearest the end of the boat. These figures are carrying bundles raised above their heads.

In front of these figures we see several symbols. These symbols provide context to the procession. There are a number of female figures on the boat. The woman near the Corn God has writing symbols on their faces. The kneeling figure holding the vase on the far left side toward the end has the words gyo ti “righteous cult specialist” on her cheek. The standing female figure in front of the last three symbols placed in front of the person carrying gifts has the words ti i “she is righteous” written on her cheek.

 

 

Most researchers have assumed that this pyramid was built by the Maya. Although this is the popular view, this pyramid was probably built by the Olmec. And the Maya probably built a new pyramid over the original Olmec pyramid. The person in the coronation scene was Governor

Under many pyramids found in Guatemala and Belize we find stucco-modeled jaguar pyramids. These pyramids with jaguar mask and large earrings predate all the Mayan pyramids. They are found at Uaxactun, Tikal and Cerros.

 

 

 

 

Two of the longest Epi-Olmec inscriptions come from Tuxtla .

The Epi-Olmec inscriptions record calendrical dates, in addition to important information on the reigns of Governor TuTu at Tuxtla, and King Yo Pe of Mojarra. Yo Pe was born on 21 May 143 AD, he was recognized as the ruler of Mojarra and also the Se Gyo (religious leader with considerable wonder making ability).

Other Epi-Olmec rulers include Ki, who was buried in tomb 1, at Rio Azul in Guatemala, and King Kele, the ruler buried at Tikal, beneath Structure 5D 33-2nd.

In summary the Native American traditions make it clear that they were not the first people to inhabit the area associated with Olmec archaeology. The settlers of thes area were probably Manding people from West/ Northwest Africa. These Manding speaking people came to Mexico in twelve waves of immigrants around 1200 B.C.

The Manding speaking ancestors of the Olmecs came from the Saharan zone of North Africa (Winters, 1983, 1984c, 1986). Here the Proto-Olmecs left their earliest inscriptions at Oued Mertoutek (Winters, 1979,1983). They took a full fledged literate culture to Mexico.

This view is supported both by 1) our ability to read the Olmec inscriptions; 2) confirmation that the Mayan term for writing *c’ib, is of Manding origin; and 3) the symbols for Mayan writing are cognate to the Manding writing systems used in Africa. Moreover, the evidence presented in this paper makes it clear that the people who introduced writing to the Maya when they met at Nonoulco, may have been Manding speaking Olmecs..

Discovery at Olmec sites such as LaVenta Offering No.4 , of Manding writing provide the “absolute proof ” of African and Olmec contact. The presence of readable African writing on Olmec celts, masks and statues, is the genuine African artifact found “in controlled excavations in the New World” that confirms the Afrocentric claim of ancient African and Olmec contact.

The existence of African writing on Olmec artifacts is confirmation of the African influence among the Olmecs (Winters, 1979, 1997). It is an historical fact that fails to minimizes the role of Native Americans as actors in their own history, because the Africanized Olmec people had their own civilization, while the Aztecs and Mayas had theirs. This Afrocentric view of ancient American history instead of denigrating Native Americans acknowledges the truth, that all three civilizations made their own unique contributions to the great ancient history of Meso-America.

 

References

 

 

Brown, C.H. (1991). Hieroglyphic literacy in ancient Mayaland: Inferences from linguistics data. Current Anthropology, 32(4), 489-495.

Coe, M. (1989). The Olmec Heartland: evolution of ideology

. In R.J. Sharer and D. C. Grove (Eds.), Regional Perspectives on the Olmecs (pp.68-82). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Delafosse,M. “Vai leur langue et leur systeme d’ecriture”,L’Anthrpologie 10, 1899.

Gutherie, J. (ed.).(1995). The Olmec World: Ritual and rulership , Princeton University: The Art Museum.

Hau, K. (1973). Pre-Islamic writing in West Africa. Bulletin de l’Institut Fondamental Afrique Noire (IFAN), t 35, Ser. B number 1, 1-45.

Hau, K. (1978). African writing in the New World. Bull. de l’IFAN, t 40, Ser. B , number 1, 28-48.

Morley, S.G., Brainered, G.W. & Sharer, R.J. (1983). The

Ancient Maya. Stanford: Standford University Press.

Landa, D. de. (1978). Yucatan before and after the Conquest.

(Trans. by) William Gates. New York: Dover Publications.

Norman, G. (1976). Izapa Sculpture.

Navarrete, C. (1976). The Olmec rock carving at Pijijipan Chiapas, Mexico and other Olmec Pieces, from Chiapas and Guatemala. New World Archaeological Foundation, No. 35. Provo, Utah : Brigham Young University Press.

Pouligny, D. (1988). Les Olmeques. Archeologie, 12, p.194.

Rafineque, C. (1832). “Second letter to Mr. Champollion on the Graphic systems of America and the glyphs of Ololum [Mayan] of Palenque in central America-elements of the glyphs”, Atlantic Journal1, (2) :44-45.

Sahagun, R. de. (1946). Historia General de las Casas de la Nueva Espana. Mexico City: Editoria Nueva Espana.

Schele, L. & Freidel, D. (1990). A Forest ofKings. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Smith, V.G. (1984). Izapa Relief Carving. Washington, D.C.:

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

Stross, B. (1973). Maya Hieroglyphic writing and Mixe-Zoquean.Anthropological Linguistics, 24 (1), 73-134.

Tate, C. E. (1995). Art in Olmec Culture. In J Gutherie (ed.), The Olmec World: Ritual and rulership (pp.45-67)

The Art Museum, Princeton University.

Tozzer, A.M. (ed).(1941). Relacion de las Casa de Yucatan. Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology ,1941.

Wiercinski, A. (1972). Inter-and-Intrapopulational racial differentiation of Tlatilco, Cerro de Las Mesas, Teothuacan, Monte Alban and Yucatan Maya. XXX1X Congreso International de Americanistas, Lima 1970, Vol. 1, pp.231-252.

Wiercinski, A. & Jairazbhoy, R.A. (1975). The New Diffusionist, 5 (18), 5.

Winters, C.A. (1977). The influence of the Mnade scripts on American ancient writing systems. Bulletin de l’IFAN, t.39, Ser.B ,Number 2, 405-431.

Winters, C.A.(1979). Manding writing in the New World–Part 1,Journal of African Civilization, 1 (1), 81-97.

Winters, C.A. (1980). Appendix B: The Jade Celts of LaVenta.

In A. von Wuthenau, Unexpected faces in Ancient America (pp. 235-237). 2nd Edition. Mexico.

Winters, C.A. (December 1981/ January 1982). Mexico’s Black heritage,The Black Collegian,76-82.

Winters,C.A. (1983). “The ancient Manding script”. I. Sertima (Ed.),Blacks in Science:ancient and modern, (ed.) by I. Sertima, (pp. 208-214), London: Transaction Books.

Winters, C.A. (1984a). Blacks in ancient America.Colorlines, 3(2), 27-28.

Winters, C.A. (1984b). Africans found first American Civilization,African Monitor, 1, 16-18.

Winters, C.A. (1986).”The Migration routes of the Proto-Mande”,The Mankind Quarterly 27 (1), 77-96.

Winters, C.A. (1997, April). The decipherment of Olmec Writing. Paper presented at the 74th meeting of the Central States Anthropological Society, Milwaukee, Wis.

Wuthenau, A. von. (1980). Unexpected Faces in Ancient America. 2nd Edition. Mexico.

 

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Evidence of the African Migration to America and Olmec Religion By Clyde Winters

NTRODUCTION The Stelae no.5 from Izapa, is an important historical document from Mexico. This monument has interesting iconographic representations that prove some of the migration traditions handed down from generation to generation by the Mexicans. The Izapa style art is characterized by upright stone stelae found at the site of Izapa, situated near Tapachula, Chiapas. Izapa is located on the Pacific coastal plain in an area known asSoconusco. This area in middle preclassic times was a center of Olmec civilization. (Morley,Brainerd & Sharer 1983: 64-66)

The research of the New World Archaeological Foundation indicate that this site has been continously occupied since 1500 B.C. Much of what we know about the art from Izapa comes from the work of Virginia Smith’ IzapaRelief Carving (1984), Garth Norman’s Izapa Sculpture (1976) and Jacinto Quirarte’s Izapan-Style Art (1973). V. Garth Norman (1976) of the New World Archaeological Foundation has published many of the stone stalae and altars found at Izapa and discussed much of their probable religious significance. Most researchers includingNorman believe that the Izapans were “Olmecoid”. Smith (1984) disagrees with this hypothesis, but Michael D. Coe (1962: 99-100,1965:773-774, 1968:121), Ignacio Bernal (1969:172) support an Olmec origin for the Izapan style art. Quirarte (1973:32-33) recognized obvious Olmec cultural traits in the Izapa iconography.

The Stelae no.5 from Izapa records many glyphic elements common to other preclassic artifacts including the jaguar, falling water, mountain, bird, dragon tree, serpent and fish motifs.(Smith 1984:28-29) This stelae also provides many elements that relate to Mexican and Maya traditions as accurately analyzed by Norman (1976:165-236). Some ideological factors not fully discussed in regards to this stelae is its discussion of elements of the Olmec religion, and the migration traditions of the Mexicans.

ANCIENT MIGRATION STORIES OF MEXICO The Maya were not the first to occupy the Yucatan and Gulf regions of Mexico. It is evident from Maya traditions and the artifacts recovered from many ancient Mexican sites that a different race lived in Mayaland before the Mayan speakers settled this region. The Pacific area was early colonized by Olmec people in middle preclassic times.(Morley, Brainerd & Sharer 1984) The Olmec civilization was developed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz. (Pouligny 1988:34) The linguistic evidence suggest that around 1200 B.C., a new linguistic group arrived in the Gulf region of Mexico.

M. Swadesh (1953) has presented evidence that at least 3200 years ago a non- Maya speaking group wedged itself between the Huastecs and the Maya. Soustelle (1984: 29) tells us that “We cannot help but think that the people that shattered the unity of the Proto-Mayas was also the people that brought Olmec civilization to the region”.

Traditions mentioned by Sahagun, record the settlement of Mexico by a different race from the present Amerindian population. Sahagun says that these “Eastern settlers of Mexico landed at Panotha, on the Mexican Gulf. Here they remained for a time until they moved south in search of mountains. Other migration to Mexico stories are mention in the Popol Vuh, the ancient religious and historical text compiled by the Quiche Mayan Indians.

This new race may have come from Africa. Sertima (1976), and Weiner (1922) believe that some of these foriegnpeople may have come from West Africa. Dr. Wiercinski (1972) claims that the some of the Olmecs were of African origin. He supports this claim with skeletal evidence from several Olmec sites where he found skeletons that were analogous to the West African type black. Wiercinski discovered that 13.5 percent of the skeletons from Tlatilco and 4.5 percent of the skeletons from Cerro de las Mesas were Africoid (Wiercinski & Jairazbhoy 1975) (For information on African Olmecs see Clyde A Winters Homepage.

Friar Diego de Landa (1978:8,28) , in Yucatan Before and After the Conquest, wrote that “some old men of Yucatan say that they have heard from their ancestors that this country was peopled by a certain race who came from the East, whom God delivered by opening for them twelve roads through the sea”. This tradition is most interesting because it probably refers to the twelve migrations of the Olmec people. This view is supported by the stone reliefs from Izapa, Chiapas , Mexico published by the New World Foundation. In Stela 5, from Izapa we see a group of men on a boat riding the waves.(Wuthenau 1980; Smith 1984 ; Norman 1976)

 

It is clear that Stela No.5, from Izapa not only indicates the tree of life, it also confirms the tradition recorded by Friar Diego de Landa that the Olmec people made twelve migrations to the New World. This stela also confirms the tradition recorded by the famous Mayan historian Ixtlixochitl, that the Olmec came to Mexico in “ships of barks “and landed at Pontochan, which they commenced to populate.(Winters 1984: 16) These Blacks are frequently depicted in the Mayan books/writings carrying trade goods.

In the center of the boat on Stela No.5, we find a large tree. This tree has seven branches and twelve roots. The seven branches probably represent the seven major clans of the Olmec people. The twelve roots of the tree extending into the water from the boat probably signifies the “twelve roads through the sea”, mentioned by Friar Diego Landa.

The migration traditions and Stela No.5, probably relates to a segment of the Olmec, who landed in boats in Panothaor Pantla (the Huasteca) and moved along the coast as far as Guatemala. This would correspond to the non-Maya speaking group detected by Swadesh that separated the Maya and Huasteca speakers 2000 years ago.Bernardino deSahagun (1946) a famous authority on Mexico also supports the extra-American origin of the Olmecs when he wrote that A”Eastern settlers of Mexico landed at Panotla on the Mexican Gulf. Here they remained for a time until they moved south in search of mountains”.The reported route of the Panotha settlers recorded by Sahaguninterestingly corresponds to the spread of the Olmecs in Meso-America which extended from the Gulf of Mexico toChalcatzingo, in the Mexican highlands along the Pacific coast.(Morley, Brainerd & Sharer 1983, p.52)

THE STELAE NUMBER 5 AND OLMEC RELIGION

The Olmec people had their own writing. This writing system was deciphered by Winters(1977,1979; Wuthenau1980) This decipherment of the Olmec writing allows us to discover much about the Olmec people and their culture.

The Olmecs had two different religious associations (gya-fa):the jaguar-man or humano-feline cult and the humano-bird cult. The humano-feline cult was called the nama-tigi (see Illustration No.7 below) by the Olmecs, while thehumano-feline cult was called the kuno-tigi(see Illustration No.6 below). The leadear of the Olmec cult was called the tigi or amatigi “head of the faith”. The tigi of the Olmec secret societies or cults exerted considerable influence both dead and alive. Alive he could contact the spirits of the deceased, and serve as intermediaries between the gods and mankind. Upon his death his grave became a talisman bestowing good to all who visited his tomb.< Mystery>

Dr. Sertima (1976) and Wiener (1922) have both commented on the possible relationship between the amanteca of ancient Mexico and the amantigi of Africa and the Olmecs. It is interesting to note that tec / tecqui means “master, chief” in a number of Mexican languages including Nahuatl (Wiener 1922).

Many Meso-Americanists have suggested that the Maya inherited many aspects of their civilization from thewOlmec.(Soustelle 1984) This is interesting because in the Maya Book of Chumayel, the three main cult associations which are suppose to have existed in ancient times were (1) the stone (cutters) cult, (2) the jaguar cult and (3) the bird cult. In lines 4-6 of the Book of Chumayel , we read that “Those with their sign in the bird, those with their sign in the stone, flat worked stone, those with their sign in the Jaguar-three emblems-“.(Brotherston 1979) The Book ofChumayel, corresponds to the gylphs depicted on Monument 13 at La Venta

 

. On Monument 13, at La Venta a personage in profile, he has a headress on his head and wears a breechcloth, jewels and sandals, along with four glyphs listed one above the other. The glyphs included the stone, the jaguar, and the bird emblems. Monument 13, at La Venta also has a fourth sign to the left of the personage a foot gylphs. This monument has been described as an altar or a low column.

The foot in Olmec is called “se”, this symbols means to “lead or advance toward knowledge, or success”. The “se” (foot) sign of the komow (cults) represent the beginning of the Olmec initiates pursuit of knowledge.

The meaning of Monument 13, reading from top to bottom, are a circle kulu/ kaba (the stone), nama (jaguar) and thekuno (bird). The interpretation of this column reading from left to right is “The advance toward success–power–for the initiate is obedience to the stone cutters cult, jaguar cult and the bird cult”. The Jaguar mask association dominated the Olmec Gulf region.

In the central and southern Olmec regions we find the bird mask association predominate as typified by the Xoc bas relief of Chiapas, and the Bas Relief No.2, of Chalcatzingo. Another bird mask cult association was located in the state of Guerrero as evidenced by the humano-bird figure of the Stelae from San Miguel Amuco.

The iconographic representation of the Olmec priest-kings, found at Chalchapa, La Venta, Xoc and Chalcatzingindicate that usually the Olmec priest wore a wide belt and girdle. He was usually clean shaven, with an elogatedbold head often topped by a round helmet or elaborate composite mask. During religious ceremonies the Olmecreligious leader, depending on his cult would wear the sacre jaguar or sacre bird mask. Often as illustrated by the glyphs on the shoulders and knees of the babe-in-arms figurine of Las Limas element the mask would include a combination of the associated with the bird, jaguar and serpent.

The cult leaders of the bird mask cult usually wore claws on their feet. The jaguar cult leaders usually wore the jaguar mask.

Stelae No.5 also discusses in detail the two major Olmec religions: the nama (jaguar) komo (cult) and the kuno (bird)komo. At the top of Stela No.5 , we recognize two lines of Olmec writing across the top of the artifact. On the first line we read from right to left :I ba i. Lu tu lu. I ba i, which means “Thou art powerful Now! Hold Upright (those) obedient to the[ir] Order. Thou art Powerful Now!” On the second line we read the following I lu be. I lu , which means “Thou hold upright Unity. Thou [it] upright” (see Table of Olmec signs 1,and 2 ).

The religious orders spoken of in this stela are the Bird and Jaguar cults. These Olmec cults were Nama or theHumano-Jaguar cult; and Kuno or Bird cult. The leader of the Nama cult was called the Nama-tigi (see Nama chief Illustration 7 Stela No.5 Izapa) , or Amatigi (head of the faith). The leader of the Kuno cult was the Kuno-tigi (Kunochief see Illustration 6 Stela No.5). These cult leaders initiated the Olmec into the mysteries of the cult.

On the Stela No. 5, we see both the Kuno-tigi and Nama-tigi instruction youth in the mysteries of their respective cults. On Stela No.5, we see two priests and members of each cult society sitting in a boat with a tree in the center.(Wuthenau 1980;Sitchin 1990,p.178) On the righthand side of the boat we see the Nama-tigi, and on the left hand side we see the Kuno-tigi.

Illustrations of the Nama-Tigi (No.7)and Kuno-Tigi(No.6)

 

The personage on the right side of the boat under a ceremonial umbrella is the Nama-tigi (see Illustration No.7). InMexico, this umbrella was a symbol of princely status. Above his head is a jaguar glyph which, according to Dr. Alexander von Wuthenau (1980) indicates that he was an Olmec. This personage has an African style hairdo and a writing stylus in his left hand. This indicates the knowledge of writing among the Olmecs which is also evident in the Olmec inscriptions deciphered by Winters (1977a,1977b,1979, 1980) .

On the sides of the boat we see two Olmec signs they read: “In the company of Purity”. This statement signifies that the Olmec believed that worship of the Kuno or Nama cults led to spiritual purity among the believers.

Izapa Stela No.5

 

On the left hand side of the boat we see a number of birds. Here we also find a priest wearing a conical hat instructing another youth, in the mysteries of the Kuno cult around a flame.

 

Among the Olmecs this flame signified the luminous character of knowledge. The Kuno priest wears a conicalhat(see Illustration No.6). The evidence of the conical hat on the Kuno priest is important evidence of the Mandingin ancient America. The conical hat in Meso-America is associated with Amerindian priesthood and as a symbol of political and religious authority . Leo Wiener (1922, v.II: p.321) wrote that:

“That the kingly and priestly cap of the Magi should have been preserved in America in the iden -tical form, with the identical decoration,and should, besides, have kept the name current for it among the Mandingo [Malinke-Bambara/Manding] people , makes it impossible to admit any other solution than the one that the Mandingoes established the royal offices in Mexico”.

 

Stelea no.21 ,from Izapa also record the decline of the Olmec nama and kuno religions and probable raise of the Maya speakers and the sa (serpent) cult which called forhuman sacrifice. On Stelae no.21, we see a decapitated individual lieing on the ground.

An elite carries the decapitaed head. This elite may be an early Maya personage because he wears a new style headdress which resembles the Maya style headdresses.

In the background we see an elite personage being borne in an elaborate sedan chair. Above this chair we see theserpent .

This depiction of a serpent as a background but dominate figure in Olmec religion/rule corresponds to Monument 19 of La Venta. On Monument 19, from La Venta we see an Olmec personage which has a serpent behind his back and above his head. This serpent indicates hidden knowledge or powers from the serpent that the cult leader used to lead the followers of their cult.

In conclusion , Stela No.5 Izapa provides the story behind the African migration to America. It also gives us a detailed account of the separation of the Olmec religion and people into two major groups. Stela No.5 ofIzapa is therefore an important historical document.

 

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