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Glyph Drawings from Landa's Relación: A Caveat to the Investigator

George Stuart
Center for Maya Research

IT IS AXIOMATIC that in epigraphy, as in field archaeology, an accurate record of the primary data forms the cornerstone of any successful analysis. In the history of the study of Maya hieroglyphic texts on stone monuments, this self-evident truth accounts for the enduring utility of the work of Maudslay (1889-1902), with its splendid photographs and the accompanying drawings by Annie Hunter. In our own time, the highest possible standards of recording are reflected in the ongoing production of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions under the direction of Ian Graham, and also in the accuracy of William R. Coe's drawings of the monumental inscriptions of Tikal. A similar situation holds true for the profitable study of other Maya hieroglyphic texts or fragments, namely, that the analytical manipulation of glyphic texts painted on pottery or in codices should be based on photographs and/or drawings that best replicate all features of the originals.

One of the aims of the Center for Maya Research is to help maintain high standards in the general field of the investigation of Maya writing and art. It is this goal that impels us to keep up a critical awareness, not only of the scientific rigor with which epigraphic and iconographic interpretations are produced, but also of the quality of the raw material used for such study. It is the latter subject that I wish to address in this brief essay, specifically with respect to the drawings of Maya hieroglyphs that appear in the unique surviving manuscript of Bishop Diego de Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán, and the versions of those illustrations which appear in publications of the same work.

As Tozzer (1941:viii), Pagden (1975:18), and other writers on the subject have explained, the manuscript of Landa's Relación in the Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, is apparently an abstract derived from a longer original, the fate of which is unknown. It consists of 66 leaves written on both sides in three scribal hands, plus a map. The work is bound in flawed sequence in what is apparently an 18th century cover, and measures 21 by 14.5cm [page size] (Fig. 1).

Until the original work of Bishop Diego de Landa comes to light -and all searches for it have so far been in vain- the manuscript in Madrid is the primary copy of our most important single source on Yucatecan Maya culture of the Early Colonial Period. Indeed, without the data set down by Landa, our progress in Maya (and Mesoamerican) studies would have been severely hampered. For this reason alone, the issue of accurate reproduction is critical to anyone using the text and illustrations of the anonymous abstract of the Landa work.

The story of the finding of the Landa manuscript and the history of its publication has been summarized by Tozzer (1941), Pagden (1975), and others. In 1863-nearly three centuries after the time of the compilation of its basic content-the precious document was encountered

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among the archival treasures of the Real Academia de La Historia by the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, the tireless French cleric who had already brought to light numerous other primary sources of American ethnohistory and culture. Brasseur published most of the manuscript, with a French translation, the following year. In the 124 years that have passed since the appearance of that editio princeps, there have been eleven subsequent editions of Landa's Relación.

As may be seen in the accompanying tabulation, the 12 editions of Landa vary greatly. Among them, eight are in the Spanish of the original (two of them accompanying a parallel translation), but with differing fidelity to the orthography of the manuscript: three are in English, two in French, and one in Russian. All but three editions provide the complete text, but only five have the complete sets of glyph drawings found in the original-and two of those editions are derivative. In addition to these inconsistencies, one is faced with the matter of availability. The edition of Brasseur de Bourbourg (1864) is of superlative rarity, as is the second edition, by Rada y Delgado (1884), and the hand-colored, limited edition of Gates (1937), although a less-rare "trade edition" of the latter appeared the same year. The Genet version (1928-29) is increasingly difficult to find, as are the editions of Rosado Escalante and Ontiveros (1938), Pérez Martínez (1938), and Tozzer (1941). Only the editions of Garibay (1959, etc.), Pagden (1975), and the Ediciones Dante imprint of 1983 (essentially a scaled down reissue of the Pérez Martínez edition just cited) are relatively easy to obtain.

Edition Language(s) Text Illustrations Brasseur de Bourbourg 1864 Spanish-French INCOMPLETE COMPLETE Rada y Delgado 1884 Spanish COMPLETE COMPLETE Relaciones de Yucatan 1900 Spanish INCOMPLETE INCOMPLETE Genet 1928-29 Spanish-French INCOMPLETE INCOMPLETE Gates 1937 English COMPLETE INCOMPLETE Rosado Escalante & Ontiveros 1938 Spanish COMPLETE INCOMPLETE Pérez Martinez 1938 Spanish COMPLETE COMPLETE Tozzer 1941 English COMPLETE INCOMPLETE Knorozov 1955 Russian COMPLETE INCOMPLETE Garibay 1959 Spanish COMPLETE COMPLETE Pagden 1975 English COMPLETE INCOMPLETE Ediciones Dante 1983 Spanish COMPLETE COMPLETE

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For a serious student of the Maya, the tangled bibliographic history of the Landa narrative and its illustrations results in a dilemma of the first order. And if one is seeking the information in English, the problem becomes even more acute. Virtually all the editions from that of Genet onward have, to varying extents, re-arranged the textual material or the sequence of the calendrical glyphs, often adding "chapter" headings; always using second-generation renderings of most of the glyphs; and, more often than not, editing the number of drawings. In short, none of the existing editions of Landa's Relación fulfills all the needs of the scholar seeking the total content of the original manuscript.

It is with regard to the hieroglyphs in the Landa manuscript that all editions fall short of accurate reproduction to one degree or another. This problem is less acute in the case of the "alphabet" on folio 45 of the original manuscript, for certain editions (i.e., Genet [1928-29] and Gates [1937]) simply reproduce that page, or a detail of it. However, in the case of the "kalendario romano, y yucatanense" that runs from folios 34 to 43v of the original, the replication of the day and month signs has been substandard. In the original, one finds a complete chain of successive sets of the 20 day signs (of the 260-day Sacred Round), punctuated by the renderings of 18 of the 19 hieroglyphs-that of Uayeb is lacking-of the months (of the 365-day Vague Year). As noted above, those publishers of Landa who have taken the trouble to render this cycle in its entirety have presented only fair copies of the whole (i.e., Brasseur de Bourbourg [1864]; Rada y Delgado [1884]). In the case of the drawings which appear in the Pérez Martínez version and its derivatives, one 20-day set was chosen, apparently at random (from folios 35 and 35v), and simply reproduced 18 times. The overall result is obvious: The drawings of the calendrical glyphs in every published edition of Landa's work reflect neither the precise character nor the configuration of the originals.

The hieroglyphs for the months Pop and Cumku provide an adequate sample for the demonstration of this point. Figure 2 shows the drawings of those two month glyphs as they appear in the manuscript (far left) and in all of the published editions of Landa's Relación. The illustration is self-explanatory, and it might be safely noted that a complete sampling of all the month glyphs as they appear across the spectrum of the literature (not to mention the signs in the famed "alphabet" or the incidental glyphic illustrations in other parts of the manuscript) would yield a like number of discrepancies.

In this brief and somewhat oversimplified survey of the history of Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatan in its many published versions, I have tried to show that none suffice to completely replicate the unique manuscript upon which they are based. My major point has

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been that the discrepancies rest mainly in the drawings of the hieroglyphs, as demonstrated by the specific examples of the hieroglyphs for the months Pop and Cumku. I would hazard a speculation that had there been accurate representations of the original renderings of Landa's Cumku glyph in the available literature, the identification of the small head at its lower left as God C would have been made earlier. But adding still another "what if" to the anecdotal history of Maya hieroglyphic research is somewhat less than productive. I will therefore end by cautioning all epigraphists to make every effort to base their analyses on primary source material-particularly when wandering the wondrous world of Diego de Landa's Yucatan.


IN KEEPING WITH THE THEME SET FORTH ABOVE, it is appropriate to note that the Center for Maya Research has received permission from the Real Academia de la Historia in Madrid to publish a facsimile of the unique manuscript of the Landa work in the archives of that venerable institution. The task is now in the planning stage and funds will be sought so that it can be completed by the end of 1989. The Center for Maya Research is grateful to the Royal Academy of History and the Commission of the Indies for this act of October 3, 1988. The Center also takes pride in having this unusual opportunity to make an important contribution to the scholarly literature devoted to the Maya and to Yucatán. George Stuart

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George Stuart
Brasseur de Bourbourg 1864
RELATION | DES CHOSES | DE YUCATAN | DE DIEGO | DE LANDA | - - | TEXTE ESPAGNOL ET TRADUTION FRANÇAIS EN REGARD | COMPRENANT LES SIGNES DU CALENDRIER | ET DE L'ALPHABET HIÉROGLYPHIQUE DE LA LANGUE MAYA | ACCOMPAGNÉ DE DOCUMENTS DIVERS HISTORIQUES ET CHRONOLOGIQUES, | AVEC UNE GRAMMAIRE ET UN VOCABULAIRE ABRÉGÉS FRANÇAIS-MAYA | PRÉCÉDÉS D'UN ESSAI SUR LES SOURCES DE L'HISTOIRE PRIMITIVE | DU MEXIQUE ET DE L'AMERIQUE CENTRALE, ETC., D'APRÉS LES MONUMENTS ÉGYPTIENS | ET DE HISTOIRE PRIMITIVE DE L'ÉGYPTE D'APRÉS LES MONUMENTS AMÉRICAINES, PAR | L'ABBE BRASSEUR DE BOURBOURG, Ancien Administrateur ecclésiastique des Indiens de Rabinal (Guatémala), | Membre de Ia Commission scientifique du Mexique, etc. | [device] | PARIS | ARTHUS BERTRAND, ÉDITEUR | 21. RUE HAUTEFEUILLE | LONDON, TRÜBNER AND Co., 60, PATERNOSTER-ROW | - | 1864 Royal 8vo. [9.5" x 6.25"]; cxii + 516 pp. 300 copies printed. Facing pages with text in Spanish and French. Landa text [pp. 1-347] incomplete, ending with ins. folio 49. Drawings complete. Map lacking. Includes work of Lizana [pp. 348-3651, Perez [366-429], Romaine Pane [431-458], a summary of grammar after Beltran and Ruz [459-4791, a Maya-French Vocabulary [480-506], a Haitian vocabulary [507-512], and Table of Contents [513-516]. The Relation... was the third in Brasseur's series, Collection de documents dans les langues indigénes, being preceded by his Popol-Vuh (1861) and the Grammaire de la langue Quichée (1862). Volumes of this series sold for 25 francs. The preface and introduction [pp. i-cxii] also appeared in 1864 as a separate 146-page work [note the differing pagination] entitled S'il existe des sources de l'histoire primitive du Méxique...

Rada y Delgado 1884
APÉNDICES | - - | MANUSCRITO DE DIEGO DE LANDA | TOMADO DIRECTAMENTE | DEL ÚNICO EJEMPLAR QUE SE CONOCE Y SE CONSERVA EN LA | ACADEMIA DE LA HISTORIA Folio [17.5" x 11.5"]; 46 pp. numbered 69-114]. 200 numbered copies printed. Spanish. Text complete. Drawings complete. Maps lacking. This second edition of Landa appeared as the first appendix to the Ensayo sobre la Interpretacion de la escritura hierática de la América Central by Leon de Rosny, edited by Juan de Díos de la Rada y Delgado and printed in Madrid by Manuel Tello. Rosny's original work, Essai sur le déchiffrement de l'écriture hieratique de l'Amérique Centrale, appeared in a folio edition [of 200 copies] and an 8vo. edition [of 85 + copies], each with title-page dates of 1876, although both printings were not completed until around mid-1883. Both folio editions of Rosny's work-the French and the Spanish-contain, among other illustrations, a heliograph, based on a photograph by Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado, of the Landa manuscript open to 44v-45 [see Figure 1 of the present essay, above].

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Relaciones de Yucatan 1900
RELACIÓN DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATÁN | SACADA DE LA QUE ESCRIBIÓ EL PADRE FRAY DIEGO DE LANDA, | DE LA ORDEN DE SAN FRANCISCO. | (Biblioteca de Ia Real Academia de Ia Historia.-Est. 24, gr. 3, B. no. 68.) 8vo. [9" x 6"], 146 pp. [numbered 265-410]. Text incomplete, lacking all text and drawings between folios 28 and 45 of the manuscript. This version of Landa's work appears in Volume 2 of the Relaciones de Yucatán. .A short table of contents appears on pp. 409-10. The Relaciones de Yucatán occupy Volumes 11 (1898) and 13 (1900) of the Colección de documentos inéditos relativos al descubrimiento, conquista y organización de las antiguas posesiones Españoles de ultramar, Second Series, printed in Madrid by the printing firm "Sucesores de Rivadeneyra." This important series was reissued by Kraus Reprint Limited in 1967. The map in the back of the Landa manuscript appears in Volume 1 of the Relaciones de Yucatán, (Volume 11 of the Documentos ineditos...), after page xl. It should be noted that the Ermilo Solís Alcalá copy of this work has extensive corrections based on comparison to a copy of the manuscript.

Genet 1928-1929
DIEGO DE LANDA | - - | RELATION | des choses de Yucatan | (RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN) | - - | TEXTE ESPAGNOL ET TRADUCTION FRANÇAISE EN REGARD | - - | Edition compléte accompagnée de notes tirées des principaux | auteurs anciens et modernes précédée d'une Introduction | sur la vie et l'œuvre de l'auteur et suivie d'un index | des matiéres contenues dans la Relation | par Jean GENET | - - | VOLUME I [II] | - - | LES EDITIONS GENET | 199, Rue de Grenelle, 199 | PARIS (VIIe) | - | 1928 [1929] | Tous droits réservés Two volumes, 8vo. [9" x 5.5"], 245; 113 Pp. Other than the trade edition, a special printing of 25 of each volume, on hand-made paper and numbered, was done. Both text and illustrations are incomplete since the work, originally planned for three volumes, was cut short by the death of Genet. The two volumes, however, which end with folio 45 of the manuscript, contain an excellent introduction and notes by the editor. This was the first version to rearrange the calendrical data of the manuscript so that the year begins with 1 Pop-a practice followed by some later editions.

Gates William 1937
YUCATAN [red] | BEFORE AND AFTER THE CONQUEST | BY | Friar Diego de Landa [red] | WITH OTHER RELATED DOCUMENTS, MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS | TRANSLATED WITH NOTES BY | WILLIAM GATES | THE MAYA SOCIETY | BALTIMORE 1937 Royal 8vo. [9.8" x 8"], gilt top, xv + 162 pp. Issued in March in an edition of 80 copies on Whatman paper, colored by hand [70 for sale], plus 15 copies on ordinary paper for review only. A "trade edition," uncolored, was issued the following July, and the work was reprinted by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, in 1978. Text in English [for the first time], with all text of the manuscript, and the map. Illustrations from manuscript are incomplete, and Gates has added numerous illustrations not in the original.

Rosado Escalante and Ontiveros 1938
RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN | SACADA DE LO QUE ESCRIBIÓ EL PADRE | FRAY DIEGO DE LANDA. | DE LA ORDEN DE SAN FRANCISCO. | M. D. LX. VI. | | - - | PRIMERA EDICIÓN YUCATECA. | - - | PRECEDIDA DE UNA "NOTA SOBRE LA VIDA Y LA OBRA DE | FR DIEGO DE LANDA" | ESCRITA POR EL PROFR. DON ALFREDO BARRERA VASQUEZ; | Y SEGUIDA DE | UN APÉNDICE QUE CONTIENE LA REIMPRESIÓN DE DIEZ RELACIONES DE | LAS ESCRITAS POR LOS ENCOMENDEROS DE YUCATÁN EN LOS ANOS DE 1579 Y 1581. | [device] | MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN, MÉXICO. | E. G. TRIAY E HIJOS, IMPS. | CALLE 67 NUM 497. | 1938. Large 8vo. [9.4" x 7"], xii + 300 pp. Printed August 20, 1938. An excellent Spanish version of the complete text under the editorship of Jose E. Rosado Escalante and Favila Ontiveros. Drawings are incomplete; both maps are present. Roughly half the volume [pp 151 on] contains various of the Relaciones de Yucatán. The Introduction by Barrera Vásquez is quite valuable. In it is noted an unedited English translation of Landa made in Mexico by Joe F. Cason and Alfredo Barrera Vásquez. This is unknown to me.

Pérez Martinez 1938
RELACION | de las | Cosas de Yucatán | por el P. Fray | DIEGO DE LANDA | Obispo de esa diócesis | Introducción y Notas por | HECTOR PEREZ MARTINEZ | Séptima edicion | con un apéndice en el cual se publican por primera vex varios | documentos importantes y cartas del autor. | [device] | EDITORIAL PEDRO ROBREDO | MEXICO, D.F. | 1938

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8vo. [9" x 6.5"], 411 pp. Completed September 1938. The Landa text [pp 53-267] is followed by ten documents, several other useful pieces, and an extensive index. Text, drawings, and maps complete, but the glyph drawings in the calendar section are repeating sets of the same images rather than the different renderings in the manuscript. Despite this minor shortcoming, this edition is excellent. The drawings made for it were used in the subsequent editions of Garibay (1959), Pagden (1975), and, of course, the Ediciones Dante version (1983), which is based on the present version.

Tozzer 1941
PAPERS | OF THE | PEABODY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY | AND ETHNOLOGY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY | VOL. XVIII | LANDA'S RELACIÓN | DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN | EDITED WITH NOTES | BY | ALFRED M. TOZZER | CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S.A. | PUBLISHED BY THE MUSEUM |1941 Royal 8vo. [10.5" x 7.5"], xiii + 394 pp., plus two plates [of maps]. One of the greatest scholarly works on the Maya by virtue of its 1,154 footnotes (!), its Syllabus [pp. 243-333], and its appendices, including the account of López Medel and others. One of the most useful features is the Concordance [pp. 367-370] giving the relationship between the manuscript and the pagination of all editions of Landa up to this work. A huge bibliography and detailed index complete this remarkable work. The translation was based on Bowditch's unpublished English version of Brasseur's French, corrected from the Rada y Delgado edition of Landa. This Bowditch is No. 430 in John Weeks' inventory of Manuscripts Relating to Middle American Indians at Tozzer Library, Harvard University, issued in 1984. The calendrical glyph drawings are incomplete in the Tozzer edition.

Knorozov 1955
AKADEMIYA NAUK SSSR | DIEGO DE LANDA | SOOBSHCHENIYE | O DELAKH V YUKATANYE | 1566G. [with flanking ornaments] | PEREVOD SO STARO-ISPANSKOGO, | VVODNAYA STAT'YA I PRIMECHANIYA | YU. V. KNOROZOVA | - | [device] | IZDATEL'STVO AKADEMII NAUK SSSR | MOSKVA-LENINGRAD | 1955 8vo. [8.7" x 5,6"]. Landa text complete; glyph drawings, redrawn and lacking all the calendrical cycle shown in the manuscript, are rearranged. This edition contains numerous extra illustrations and maps.

Garibay 1959
RELACION | DE LAS | COSAS DE YUCATAN | POR EL P. | FRAY DIEGO DE LANDA | OBISPO DE ESA DIOCESIS | INTRODUCCION | POR | ANGEL Ma. GARIBAY K. OCTAVA EDICION | Con un apéndice en el cual se publican varios | documentos importantes y cartas del autor | [device] | EDITORIAL PORRUA, S. A. | AV. REPUBLICA ARGENTINA, 15 | MEXICO, 1959 8vo. [9.4" x 7"], xviii + 252 pp. 2,000 copies printed in May 1959. Virtually identical to the Perez Martinez edition, with its drawings. This is No. 13 in the "Biblioteca Porrua" series.

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Pagden 1975
Diego de Landa's Account of the Affairs of Yucatán | THE MAYA | Edited and Translated by A. R. Pagden | A Howard Greenfeld Book | J. Philip O'Hara, Inc. Chicago 8vo. [9" x 6.75"], 191 pp. An excellent and very readable English translation. Drawings of glyphs in the calendar cycle are incomplete. Extra illustrations include very useful and enlightening photographs of the manuscript and other pertinent material. One of the very best editions of the work of Landa.

Ediciones Dante 1983
Fray Diego de Landa | RELACION | DE LAS COSAS | DE YUCATAN if| [device] | Ediciones Dante. SA. Small 8vo. [8.1" x 5.3"]. 251 pp. + table of contents. 2,500 copies printed. Derives from the Perez Martinez edition text and illustrations, but omits some of the material following the Landa text.