By Roberta H. Markman, Peter T. Markman
This illustrated learn courses the reader throughout the lengthy background of Mesoamerican mask-making. It explores many subject matters linked to one of many least understood but attention-grabbing spiritual and mythological traditions.
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Additional resources for Masks of the Spirit: Image and Metaphor in Mesoamerica
Interestingly, however, a stone object from Tlacotepec, Guerrero, an area with caves but no cenotes, displays, in very different form, the same combination of mask and headdress. This suggests that the symbolic reference must be wider than one resting on an interpretation of the San Lorenzo figure. But whatever the precise meaning of each of the symbolic details of the many variants of the mask, it is clear that while all of the combinations refer to rain, each particular image has a different inflection symbolized by the individual combination of features drawn from the basic inventory.
The way was shown by the animals. And then the yellow corn and white corn were ground, and Xmucane did the grinding nine times. Corn was used, along with the water she rinsed her ands with, for the creation of grease; it became human fat when it was worked by the Bearer, Begetter, Sovereign Plumed Serpent as they are called.  The creation of man is intimately connected here with the origins of agriculture, that is, with the "discovery" of corn at Broken Place. Broken Place, translated by Munro Edmonson as Cleft,  is symbolically the point at which man's sustenance, the corn, emerges from the world of the spirit into the natural world.
As we indicated above, Monument I depicts a figure holding a ceremonial bar seated within a stylized cave/jaguar mouth from which issue speech scrolls. On the one hand, the seated figure is clearly associated with the rain god by the stylized raindrops, identical to those falling from the clouds, decorating his costume and headdress and by his location within the mouth of the cave/jaguar, but, on the other hand, he is identified as a ruler by the ceremonial bar he holds and, perhaps, by the headdress he wears.