This current Research Contribution came about as a sidebar to a bigger, ongoing project: “A Comprehensive Commentary on the Dresden Codex.” Our readers may be familiar with Uguku Usdi (2013; 2017) who is in the unique situation among Maya scholars of being a long-term prisoner in the State of California federal prison system.
George Stuart introduced me to Uguku some seventeen years ago and we have been corresponding and collaborating on many things, usually Maya codex related, ever since. Around two years ago we embarked on the ambitious project of writing a new glyph-by-glyph, page-by-page commentary on the Dresden Codex, a much-needed (we feel) update to previously published commentaries.
Uguku for years has spearheaded the In Lak’ech Study Group of Mesoamerican enthusiasts inside the prison, whose membership has waxed and waned depending on people coming in and going out of prison, and he was recently joined by a newer inmate named Clio Renata Reichart Ywahoo (she is transgender) who is, according to Uguku, a genius with a learning curve that is “so steep it is scary.”
Clio, in her self-introduction to me, says she has retained her childhood fascination with ancient history into her adult life (she is currently twenty-eight), so Uguku and I put her to work on the Comprehensive Commentary creating an index of every glyph in the Dresden Codex. For example, Glyph T757 has the following entry:
Macri and Vail: AP9
D2a A1; D3a E2; D4b V5; D8a A3; D8c F1; D9a D2; D10a B3; D10b D2; D11b B2; D22c F3; D47a F3; D47c E2; D69a A3; D74 B2; D29b C2; D36a C2; D39b A1
Total occurrences: 17
In the process of compiling the index, Reichart came across a glyph she felt was misidentified in the two most recently published complete commentaries on the Dresden Codex, Schele and Grube (1997) and Velásquez García (2016; 2017). As a newcomer to the field, she needed help writing up her findings, which Uguku provided, and I did some light final editing.
We feel this discovery is worthy of publication on two fronts: (1) it presents a new allograph, heretofore not recognized, of a common glyph in the Dresden Codex; and (2) it points out the untapped genius hidden away in our state prisons, where opportunities to do research and to publish are essentially non-existent. I am proud to offer Ms. Reichart this conduit to present her discovery to the broader academic world of Mesoamericanists.
Bruce Love (May 24, 2023)
Juniper Hills, California
Schele, Linda and Nikolai Grube
1997 Notebook for the XXIst Maya Hieroglyphic Forum at Texas, March 8-9, 1997, Part II The Dresden Codex. University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art and Art History, the College of Fine Arts, and the Institute of Latin American Studies, Austin.
2013 The Rise of Chak Ek’; Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing, No. 60. Barnardsville: Boundary End Archaeology Research Center.
2017 Where are we today in the Dresden Codex Venus Table? Contributions to Mesoamerican Studies, October 16, 2017. https://brucelove.com/research/contribution_001/
Velásquez García, Erik
2016 Códice de Dresde: Parte 1, Edición facsimilar. Arqueología Mexicana Edición Especial núm. 67.
2017 Códice de Dresde: Parte 2, Edición facsimilar. Arqueología Mexicana, Edición Especial núm. 72.
Research Contribution 14: A Variant of the Codical T501 HA’ Logogram, Clio Reichart and Uguku Usdi