The Art and Architecture of Ancient America: The Mexican, Maya, and Andean Peoples

By George Kubler | Go to book overview

GLOSSARY
Adobe . Clay from which sun-dried bricks are made; unburnt bricks.
Adorno . Any modelled clay attachment to a vessel wall or rim.
Atadura . Literally, a binding. Maya façade moulding at impost level, usually consisting of three members.
Atlatl . Wooden throwing-board for javelins, serving to lengthen the user's radius of reach.
Avant-corps . Projecting portion, suggesting a wing or pavilion, which interrupts the continuity of the plane of a façade.
Batter . In a wall of tapered section, the doping face. A wall with inverted taper, thicker at the top than at the bottom, has negative batter.
Cella . A temple chamber.
Cenote . Natural well in a collapsed portion of the surface limestone of Yucatán.
Chacmool . A fanciful yet standard term designating the stone figures of recumbent human males shown holding basins or platters on the abdomen ( Mexico and Yucatán).
Chamfer . A horizontal moulding of intaglio effect recessed within the wall of a Maya temple or pyramidal platform.
Chinampa . A small artificial island made for gardening in the lakes of the Valley of Mexico.
Chullpa . In the Central Andes, a stone tower used for burials.
Cire perdue . The lost-wax method of casting metal objects by displacing a waxen model with molten metal.
Classic . A developmental stage in Mesoamerican archaeology, referring to the period of the rise of high civilizations in many independent centres.
Codex . The European book, consisting of leaves or folds of rectangular pages sewn together at one side, adopted by American peoples only after the Spanish Conquest.
Collao . A district of the Andean highlands around Lake Titicaca.
Concrete . A mixture of cement, sand, and water with any aggregate, capable of setting to the hardness of stone.
Fine orange . Untempered pinkish-orange pottery of dense paste.
Fin wall . Masonry membranes compartmenting the loose infilling in pyramid facings.
Flying façade . Ornamental vertical extension in the plane of the façade of a Maya building.
Glyph . Each pebble-shaped unit of Maya writing.
Greenstone . Those American minerals, e.g. nephrite, serpentine, wernerite, possessing colours similar to oriental jades.
Hacha . Thin stone blades with profiles of human heads.
Header . Of bricks or stones, those laid in the wall with the smallest face exposed.
Horizon style . A complex of traits having a known position in time, useful to date new finds and to correlate regions in time.
Huaca . Quechua term in the central Andean region for any buried or ruined structure of putative religious use: more generally, any sacred thing or creature.
Initial Series . A Classic Maya method (also called Long Count) for dating events by the day-count from a starting point. Identified by its initial position in longer inscriptions. Each digit is vigesimal rather than decimal: in a date transcribed 9.3.10.10.5, the first digit states that 9 cycles of 400 years (each having 20 periods of 20 years) have elapsed, followed by 3 twenty-year periods or katuns, 10 tuns or years of 360 days each, 10 uinals or months of 20 days each, and 5 kins: or days. The total enumerates the days which have elapsed since the starting-point.
Lienzo . A Mexican pictorial chart drawn or painted on a sheet of cloth.
Lost wax . See Cire perdue.
Mapa . A Mexican chart or pictorial table displaying geographical and historical relationships.
Mesoamerica . The parts of pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America occupied by peoples of advanced urban traditions.

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