Girl from Madrid, c1925
Oil on canvas
Maya Stela H, Copán.
Gender studies in ancient Maya culture and art often address the question of sexual identity.
Costume, which is gender distinctive among the modern Maya, has been a focus of attention and is usually assumed to be either masculine or feminine in archaeological contexts.
Masculine attire is generally represented as a hip cloth or loincloth, sometimes coupled with a short skirt. Feminine costume is typically a skirt worn to below the knee, sometimes accompanied by a long tunic-like huipil.
Occasionally in Maya art, the relationship between sexual identity and gender-marked costume is problematic when attempting to interpret the subject matter.
Stela H is an example of this. In an early account of the stela, Alfred P. Maudslay identified the skirted figure shown as a woman (1889-1902, 5:50). Subsequent work and the recovery of the inscriptions has determined that this monument actually represents Waxaklajuun Ub’aah K’awiil (18 Rabbit), the male ruler of Copán.
So why is he shown wearing the long skirt typical of women? One interpretation is that male rulers donned such “female” costumes for bloodletting ceremonies (Schele 1979). As argued by Andrea Stone (1988, 1991), such gender crossing is suggested in other aspects of Maya ceremonies.
Photo taken by Christine and John Fournier. Quoted segments from Traci Ardren’s Ancient Maya Women (2002).
Akelarre by Francisco de Goya
El Greco - The Visitation. 1610-1613
We look for the Secret - the Philosopher’s Stone, the Elixir of the Wise, Supreme Enlightenment, ‘God’ or whatever…and all the time it is carrying us about…It is the human nervous system itself.
Robert Anton Wilson
I didn’t realize until today who ‘St. Anne’ actually was. It’s Jesus’s grandma. Although it doesn’t name her in the bible but comes from ‘New testament Apocrypha’ which are like ‘fan fiction’ that May or may not be true. -shrug-
Anyways another thing interesting about this particular drapery study -sketch is that it is the area of the actual painting that Freud thought Leonardo subconsciously’ painted the outline of a Vulture. (When viewed sideways)
The vulture was supposed to represent his ‘mother’ because a vulture represents his ‘mothers nipple’ and is also represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs (as being mothers)..
It seems that I was always destined to be so deeply concerned with
vultures—for I recall as one of my very earliest memories that while I was in my cradle a vulturecame down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips.
Ultimately the translation of the Italian word ‘Nibbo’ Leo used was not vulture but Kite - which is an entirely different type of bird, making Freud’s interpretation wrong. This was unfortunate for Freud since he later confessed after realizing his error that his article about it was, in his opinion, “the only thing I have ever written.”
Leonardo’s account of his first memory is still intriguing since it’s unlikely that is he referring to an actual bird’s tail poking his lips.
What’s the secret to a long and happy life? This Korean screen is decorated with symbols of longevity, such as evergreen pine trees, the sun that rises each day, and mountains, which keep their shape forever. Explore more symbols in “Treasures from Korea.”
"Ten Longevity Symbols," 18th century, Korea (Private Collection)
Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised (Buste de femme, les bras levés), Dinard, summer 1922, Collection of Michael and Judy Steinhardt, New York. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Christopher Burke
Picasso Black and White, October 5th, 2012 through January 23, 2013 - Guggenheim info: HERE