Fact# 5724: The 1883 eruption of the Krakatau volcano in Indonesia is thought to have released 200 megatons of energy, the equivalent of 15,000 nuclear bombs. Even though the island was uninhabited, the eruption killed 36,000 people as the result of burning ash showers and huge tsunamis. It generated the loudest sound historically reported.
Mystic Wheel (The Vision of Ezekiel)
Tempera on panel, 39 x 39 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence
Bacab is the generic Yucatec name for each of the four pre-Spanish, aged Maya deities of the interior of the earth and its water deposits. The Bacabs have more recent counterparts in the lecherous, drunken old thunder deities of the Gulf Coast regions. The Bacabs are also referred to as ‘Pauahtuns’.
The Bacabs “were four brothers whom God placed, when he created the world, at the four points of it, holding up the sky so that it should not fall. […] They escaped when the world was destroyed by the deluge.” Their names were Hobnil, Cantzicnal, Saccimi, and Hosanek. Each ruled one of the directions and the associated Year Bearer day (one of four New Year days). The four brothers were intimately associated with the four Chaacs, or rain deities, and the Pauahtuns, or wind deities, who were equally associated with the four directions. The Maya of Chan Kom referred to the four skybearers as the four Chacs (Redfield and Villa Rojas).
According to Francisco Hernández (quoted by Las Casas and Diego López de Cogolludo), Bacab was the son of the creator god, Itzamna, and of the goddess Ixchebelyax; he had once been humbled, killed, and revived. The Bacabs played an important role in the cosmological upheaval associated with Katun 11 Ahau, when Oxlahuntiku ‘Thirteen-god’ was humbled by Bolontiku ‘Nine-god’. According to the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, “then the sky would fall, it would fall down, it would fall down upon the earth, when the four gods, the four Bacabs, were set up, who brought about the destruction of the world.”
Since they were Year Bearer patrons, the Bacabs were important in divination ceremonies. They were approached with questions about crops, weather, or the health of bees (Landa), and often invoked in curing rituals (which is the basic reason why the most important early-colonial collection of Yucatec curing texts, the Ritual of the Bacabs, has been named after them).
Of the ‘Grandfathers’ of the Gulf Coast corresponding to the Bacabs, the most powerful one is responsible for opening the rainy season. The four earth-carrying old men are sometimes conceived as drowned ancestors who are serving for one year; then, other drowned men are substituted for them. Together with this comes the concept that the powerful ‘Grandfather’ only grows old over the course of the year.
In earlier representations (which are not restricted to the Yucatán), the Bacabs who carry the sky are represented by old men carrying the sky-dragon. They can have the attributes of a conch, a turtle, a snail, a spider web, or a bee ‘armour’. In the rain almanacs of the Post-Classic Dresden Codex, the old man with the conch and the turtle is put on a par with Chaac. This old man corresponds to god N in the Schellhas-Zimmermann-Taube classification, a god of thunder, mountains, and the interior of the earth.
In Classic Maya iconography, the Bacab occurs in various stereotypical situations:
- Fourfold, the Bacabs are repeatedly shown carrying the slab of a throne or the roof of a building. In this, young, princely impersonators can substitute for them (see fig.), a fact suggestive of the Gulf Coast traditions about drowned ancestors mentioned above. On a damaged relief panel from Pomona, four of these young Bacab impersonators appear to have held the four Classic Year Bearer days in their hands.
- A Bacab inhabiting the Earth Turtle is part of the scenes with the resurrection of the Maya maize god.
- Still unexplained is a recurring scene in which the Bacab, half-hidden in his conch, is held by his wrist, about to be sacrificed with a knife.
The Bacab has a peculiar netted element as a distinguishing attribute serving as a headdress, which might conceivably belong to the sphere of the hunt or of beekeeping. It recurs as a superfix in his hieroglyphical names; its reading is uncertain. Hieroglyphically, one finds conflations of Itzamna (god D) and Bacab (god N), recalling the mythological filiation of the Bacab mentioned above.
Archetypes | THE TRICKSTER
See him hiding in plain sight, with charm and flair, smoking your cigarettes and drinking all the rum, promising you the moon with one face and stealing your immortal soul and your pocketwatch with the other. The trickster more often than not cannot be understood, merely guessed at, for he wears many masks and takes delight in playing the fool to make greater fools of others. He is a black hole at the centre of the story with many reflecting facets, a blind spot in the hero’s vision, sucking up all the love and light and truth and turning them into shining rupturing distractions. He is a gateway to transformation and the underworld, with chaos at his right hand and death at his left, and a terrible whimsy in between. Change is the song he sings, and chaos the ruin that he wreaks. Like a particularly toothsome shark, he will never stop moving onward.
He cannot abide any absolute or rule, will rattle at the cages of authorities until they come tumbling down. He likes to watch worlds crashing and burning and whirling like a whizzing firecracker with them. He has no care for good or evil, no need for the usual vices and virtues of humanity. Where others see fate and patterns, morality and honour, gods and righteousness, he sees only lies stretched over mayhem, and plays with them like a child playing cat’s cradle. Lies are his mother tongue, and with them he shapes and reshapes himself and the world to his liking. He may be destructive or merry, precise or bacchanalian, dealing out death or candy or all at once, but he is never, ever tame. He has no means but chaos, no plan but disorder, no motive but winning whatever fickle game he is playing against the universe, and so may be left standing alone in a burning wreckage that he never intended to create. (He will probably laugh for the flames anyway).
He charms, he whittles at wills, he holds up a mirror to your soul and will twist your mind until everything you see is so warped you will trust only him to speak the truth. And the truth he will speak; only just enough truth to fit his purpose best. He is not a guide; though he may become one by chance or boredom. Humanity is a fascination for him; an ongoing project. He may hate, or he may love, but only in strange ways unbound from traditional emotion, from right or respect or truth, but in creeping, crawling, manic ways that burn and turn the object of his love inside out; that sends them howling mad into the abyss until they destroy themselves or come out the other side burned clean, like earth scorched and made fertile to grow things not seen ever before.
What he desires above all else is to be free, free to pursue his pleasures in all their caprice and recklessness through the playground of the world. Yet often, in the end, he is bound for his crimes against nature. He will always rise again. Change is his game.
Examples: The Devil, Hannibal, Jack Sparrow, Tyler Durden, Loki (when he’s not trying to rule the world), Robin Goodfellow, Iago, Prometheus, Howl Jenkins, the Doctor, Alice Morgan, Moriarty, Anansi, Coyote, The Joker.
A compilation of Edward Gorey and his rather gothic poems and illustrations.
Well that was disturbing in a nice way
like the darker more twisted version of Shel Silverstein
The Old Fisherman (1902)
The painting above by Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry has a pretty amazing secret to it which can be seen by using a mirror.
If you place the mirror exactly in the middle of the painting, on the left, you can see a man — wise-looking and sad — resting with his back to the serene mountains and the calm sea. He is God.
If you look to the right, you will see a man — evil-looking and menacing — with his back to the erupting volcano and the stormy sea. He is Devil
i think you are going to see opinions everywhere if you are studying modern history.
Yup and I actually found that out the hard way.
Also known as: Pauahtun
(gods) The protectors of the world. They defend it from falling into chaos. Colour-coordinated, they hold up the four corners of the sky under the orders of Hunab-Ku. Can-Tzicnal, Hozanek, Hobnil and Zac Cimi are the four gods.
They are sometimes one entity called Pauahtun or Bacab or Bacabs are younger versions of Pauahtuns.
See also: Chaac, Itzamna, Pauahtun
art history meme | 4/7 sculptures/other media: Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace) (200-190B.C.)
The Nike of Samothrace, discovered in 1863, is estimated to have been created around 200-190 BC. It is 8ft (2.44m) high. It was created to not only honor the goddess, Nike, but to honor a sea battle. It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery through its features which the Greeks considered ideal beauty. It stood on a rostral pedestal of gray marble from Lartos representing the prow of a ship (most likely a trihemiolia), and represents the goddess as she descends from the skies to the triumphant fleet. Before she lost her arms, which have never been recovered, Nike’s right arm is believed to have been raised, cupped round her mouth to deliver the shout of Victory. The work is notable for its convincing rendering of a pose where violent motion and sudden stillness meet, for its graceful balance and for the rendering of the figure’s draped garments, compellingly depicted as if rippling in a strong sea breeze. The Nike of Samothrace is seen as an iconic depiction of triumphant spirit and of the divine momentarily coming face to face with man. It is possible, however, that the power of the work is enhanced by the very fact that the head is missing.