Warning Cookies are used on this site to provide the best user experience. If you continue, we assume that you agree to receive cookies from this site. OK

Tying Headbands or Venus Appearing: New Translations of k'al, the Dresden Codex Venus Pages and Classic Period Royal 'Binding' Rituals

Gerardo Aldana y Villalobos
Publication Year:
87pp. Illustrated throughout in black and white
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


Epigraphers of the Mayan hieroglyphic writing system have demonstrated that a single verb root lies behind a substantial array of royal rituals. At the same time, astronomically oriented studies have found the same root associated with the events of celestial bodies. Perhaps the best known of the latter is the operative verb within the Dresden Codex Venus Pages. This book tackles ostensibly minor incongruities within current interpretations of the Venus Pages to reveal a trajectory that resolves the difference between astronomical and epigraphic treatments of the verb in question. In an attempt to ameliorate these inconsistencies, textual data external to the Dresden Codex, both temporally and geographically, are brought into consideration. The external data reveals an unexpected linguistic and thematic continuity, which further challenges current calendric interpretations of the Venus Pages. Rectifying the calendric inconsistency requires a substantial reinterpretation of the procedure for utilizing thePreface to the Venus Table; in so doing, a new solution to the long enigmatic interval of 9,100 days is proposed. This last move introduces a reconsideration of the Venus Table in its entirety, with a focus on k'al, the operative verb throughout the table, such that we gain access to a perspective of ritual time and space that appears to have been held throughout Mesoamerica. This essay appeals to calendrics, iconography, hieroglyphs, and architecture to suggest that k'al referred to a ritual 'enclosing'or 'loop-tracing' in space and time.