An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...

Maya's Cup and us. 

In an exhibition of the ceramics of the Maya people in 1971, one of the items was a beautifully painted cup from Rio Azul (Guatemala). It was intially though that the cup was used during burial ceremonies. However, once they began to analyse the writings that were carefully painted in the archaic script of the Maya people, it became evident that the use of this cup was for something entirely different. The writings on the cup mean something along the lines of "a cup for cocoa... [belonging to] ... so and so". As there were some difficulties with the interpretations of some of the hieroglyphics, the dried remains that were left in the bottom of the cup were subjected to a more sophisticated chemical analysis. It turned out, that it was in fact the remains of cocoa. 

This corresponds exactly with the writings of the Franciscan monk, Diego de Landa (1524? -1579), the first European to write about the language and customs of the Maya people: 
"They make a frothy drink out of corn flour and cocoa, which is very nutritious and consumed during ceremonies of various sorts. They also obtain, from the cocoa plant, a fat, similar to butter, and with the addition of corn flour make another drink, which is also highly valued." 
This beautiful cup unexpectedly, through a large time and cultural barrier, brings together the Mayan traditions to our own customs - in every cafe, dining hall and in private homes can be found cups labeled "Anna's cup", "John's cup" etc, exactly like in the Mayan times....

decifered glyphs from the cocoa cup. 




(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

Jan.  2003

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