James A. McBride II Stela #10 Rubbing
Ceibal, Guatemala
January 1971

James A. McBride II Stela #10 Rubbing

James A. McBride received permission from the Government of Guatemala to obtain rubbings of Mayan Stela from Tikal, Aguateca, Santa Lucia, and Seibal for the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston and the University of Texas. Stela No. 10 Seibal is one of the two rubbings exhibited in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, selected by Phillipe Demontebello then the Acting Director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, between the years of 1978 and 1983.

The Maya erected a Stela at the end of every katurn 1 (every twenty years), and sometimes at the end of every hotun (five years). It seems that the notations of time inscribed on the monuments generally do not go beyond the bastion, the Mayan Century in regards to multiplication. This rather conventional system of calculating past time was adopted by the Maya of the classical period in order to record the date of the construction of their monuments. The construction of each Stela mirrored the Maya adoration of time. They were built upon consultation with Mayan calendars which were of miraculous preclslon.

The dates on the Mayan Stela are not represented by solar, lunar or Venus years, but by the number of days that have passed from a specific chronological starting point, shown as Baktun 13, apparently established in the distant past which may have commemorated a mythical event, as its transcription dates back to 3113 B.C. The Maya invented a numerical system in which one point (dot) represents one unit, and a line represents five units. For large calculations they invented a system of position, using the zero. Their calculating systems was based on the number twenty; and their numerical vertical progression went from low to high. This means that a point, a line or a combination of the two - represents automatically multiplied the number by twenty.

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