Reevaluating The Late Classic Lu-bat Glyphic Phrase: The Artist And The Underworld

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Carroll, Patrick
Anthropology; archaeology; epigraphy; iconography; maya
thesis / dissertation description
The study of hieroglyphic texts is vital to the interpretation of the ancient Maya and how their worldview contributed to their daily lives. Hieroglyphic decipherment has been an arduous undertaking and a wide variety of the Late Classic Maya writing styles has also been documented. When specific hieroglyphic phrases are not fully understood it has been necessary to utilize other sources of information to help increase the understanding of these texts. The “lubat” glyphic phrase has been utilized in multiple mediums throughout the Late Classic period and is described as an artist’s signature. This artist signature is directly related to specific iconographic elements and themes that represent a cosmological view of the ancient Maya. This thesis demonstrates the connection between the lu-bat glyphic phrase and iconographic themes indicative of liminal powers exercised by the social elites in terms of the underworld. This connection is strengthened through the evaluation of the associated texts and iconographic analysis. While interpretations of the lu-bat glyphic phrase have suggested that it represented an artist’s signature, a concise articulation of the hieroglyphic values for the lu-bat glyphic phrase has not yet be achieved. The iconographic imagery involved with this glyph demonstrates an interactive level between the conduit being and liminal actions. This interaction depicts the individual involved as a direct medium for the ritual activities of the elites in terms of the underworld.