Filling the Grid? More Evidence for the <t’a> Syllabogram

Research Note 4

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20376/IDIOM-23665556.16.rn004.en

Sven Gronemeyer1,2

1 Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn
2 La Trobe University, Melbourne

This epigraphic note1)This research paper abstains from indicating or reconstructing vowel complexity on the basis of supragraphematic vowel disharmony, as has been proposed in two studies (Houston, Stuart & Robertson 1998, Lacadena & Wichmann 2004). There are two main reasons for this approach: 1) although both proposals operate under similar premises, their conclusions are rather distinct; and 2) no consensus has yet been reached on the mechanisms of disharmonic spellings, resulting in alternative views on the reasons underlying the phenomenon of vowel disharmony (e.g. Kaufman 2003, Mora-Marín 2004, Gronemeyer 2014). We neither neglect previous research nor entirely dismiss the possibility of a quantitative Classic Mayan vowel system and its orthographic indication. Before the project has collected sufficient epigraphic data and can test previous proposals against the existing evidence or formulate new hypotheses, we prefer to pursue an unprejudiced approach in our epigraphic analysis and to be rather conservative, while also noting that the transcriptional spelling in one model may vary between authors. We therefore apply a broad transliteration and a narrow transcription, but only as far as sounds can be reconstructed using methods from historical linguistics. This last point particularly concerns the aspirated vowel nucleus, as in e.g., k’a[h]k’. reviews David Stuart’s proposal for a t’a syllabogram (Stuart 1998: 417; Bíró 2003: 2, Lacadena & Wichmann 2005: fn. 1) and enriches the evidence for his reading by providing more examples in different productive contexts.

The Initial Evidence from Ikil

In a written communication to fellow epigraphers in 1998, David Stuart identified a hitherto unrecognised and still unclassified grapheme on one of the two inscribed lintels from Structure 1 in Ikil, Yucatan. Each of these two lintels consists of 10 glyph blocks, and together they comprise a single, continuous text spanning two opposite doorways of the summit temple of Structure 1 (Figure 1a-b; Andrews & Stuart 1968: 73, figs. 1, 3, 7).

The glyph block in question (Figure 1c) is block B on Lintel 1. Based on context, Stuart proposed the reading nnt’a?-T501ba-T18yi, for t’ab?-ay-i “(s)he/it ascended”, representing a unique instance of syllabic substitution for the typical “step verb” T843T’AB?. The logogram T843 was first proposed as a dedicatory verb for ceramic vessels by Barbara MacLeod (1990: 342) because of its abundant occurrence in the PSS. Stuart (1998: 409-417) later also linked it to building dedications. The reading and translation “to go up, to rise, to ascend” was first proposed by David Stuart, Nikolai Grube and Elisabeth Wagner (cf. Wagner 1995, Schele & Looper 1996: 51), based on the grapheme’s use in other contexts of historical nature2)For example, compare the accounts of Bajlaj Chan K’awil seeking refuge in different places as mentioned on Dos Pilas Hieroglyphic Stairways 2 and 4 (cf. Guenter 2003), or its use in association with other warfare events or tribute scenes (Stuart 1998: 409-416). and correspondences in Ch’olan languages (Kaufman & Norman 1984: 133). However, clear phonemic support was lacking.

a
b
c

Figure 1. Ikil Structure 1 texts. a) West Room, Lintel 1; b) East Room, Lintel 2 (photos after Andrews & Stuart 1968, fig. 1); c) Ikil Lintel 1, block B (drawing by Sven Gronemeyer).

Stuart’s (1998: 417) idea of a full phonemic substitution is supported by the dedicatory nature of the Ikil text, which opens with a-ALAY-ya t’a?-ba-yi u-wa?-ya-bi-li (blocks A-C), alay t’ab?-ay-i-Ø u-way?-ab-il “here ascended the dormitory of …”, followed by the elaborate name phrase of a noble woman. Equivalent formulae with either the T843 “step verb” or the T1014 “God N verb” are attested elsewhere and are well known in Yucatan (Figure 2). However, this evidence does not yet prove a full syllabic substitution for one of these two logograms, as it draws on functional parallels alone.

a
b

Figure 2. Examples of dedicatory verbs following alay. a) Cacabbeec Lintel 1 (drawing by Daniel Graña-Behrens [2002: pl. 4]); b) Edzna Ball-court Sculpture (drawing by Sven Gronemeyer [Benavides & Gronemeyer 2005: fig. 2]).

Further Support by Phonemic Complementation

Stuart (1998: 416-417) furthermore cites the case of Uxmal Capstone 2 (Figure 3). In block C, he recognises the same shape with a dotted outline typical of the T843 “step verb”. This sign icon is the Late Classic representation of the footprint ascending a stairway that is more clearly visible in early forms (compare to Figure 2a). Although the main sign is again clearly T501ba, he considers the third sign to be a rendition of the very same supposed t’a? syllabogram visible on Ikil Lintel 1, an interpretation also followed here. Thus, we might be dealing in this instance with a full phonemic complementation.3)A similar instance may appear on Uxmal Ball-court Sculpture 1, block F (Graham 1992: 119), where we might have the bulbous part of the supposed t’a? sign on top of the “step verb”. However, this occurrence cannot be confirmed because of the block’s badly weathered state and the fracture in the middle. We also have a dedicatory statement here and can thus analyse blocks C-D as t’a?-T’AB?-ba u-tz’i-bV for t’ab?-a[y-i]-Ø u-tz’i[h]b, “it ascends its writing”.

Figure 3. Uxmal Capstone 2 (drawing by Frans Blom [1934: fig. 4]).

A hitherto unrecognised instance of the “step verb” provides further support for the proposal that the enigmatic grapheme in question might indeed be a t’a? syllabogram. An altar support looted from Piedras Negras or its vicinity in the late 19th century and now stored in the magazine of the Peabody Museum (Teufel 2004: 565) was documented by Maler (1901: 64) in 1899 in Ciudad del Carmen. The inscription is badly weathered, especially in its lower half.

a b

Figure 4. Piedras Negras Altar Support. a) Front Side (photo by Teobert Maler [1901: pl. 11]); b) Block A5b (drawing by Sven Gronemeyer).

In block A5b, we obviously encounter another instance of the T843 “step verb”, likely conflated with the yi sign indicating the mediopassive (cf. Houston 1997: 295-296, Houston, Robertson and Stuart 2000: 330). Above is a less clearly recognisable sign that bears resemblance to the examples from Ikil and Uxmal, although this should be verified by double-checking the original monuments. Based on these assumptions, we are likely dealing with t’a?-T’AB?°yi; however, the rest of the inscription does not further clarify the verb’s function, as only ya-ha-? ?-?-k’i is still recognisable from the subject.

The evidence brought forward thus far provides some supporting indications that the reading of the T843 “step verb” may thus indeed be T’AB and that the unclassified sign in question is likely the syllabogram t’a.

Another Context to Test the <t’a> Reading

To verify the t’a? reading, more examples must be found of productive readings in other contexts. Luckily, there is at least one more environment where the sign is used. There are three examples, and once more, these originate from Yucatan, making the suspected case from Piedras Negras the only one from the Late Classic in the Maya heartlands.

Again, we are dealing with dedicatory statements of carved texts that all have a very similar structure (Figure 5). With the other syllabograms being well-known, we can tentatively operate with the spelling bo-t’a?-ja. As the expression appears in a predicative position, T181ja clearly marks a derived intransitive verb; thus, we can assume that bot’ is the root and test it against the lexical and semantic evidence in the given hieroglyphic context.

Lexical evidence for bot’ as a transitive verb is extremely limited and originates exclusively from Yukatekan (Table 1); thus, the spelling must indicate a passive. Here, we are dealing with a Yukatekan vernacular form with typical Classic Mayan morphology, providing another attestation of diglossia.

YUK bot‘ magullar, levantar chichón (Barrera Vásquez 1980: 65)
YUK bot’a’an carne levantada a magullada de algun golpe (Barrera Vásquez 1980: 65)

Table 1. Linguistic evidence for bot’.

With its semantic range encompassing “to smash, to mash, to buckle, to dent, to make bumps”, the action of bot’ could very well apply to the context of dedication statements (Table 2).

a a-ALAY-ya PET-ta-ja bo-t’a?-ja tzi-tzi-li-le yu-xu-li-li-le u-k’a-li …
alay pet-aj-Ø boht’?-aj-Ø tzitz-il=e[’] y-uxul-il=e[’] u-k’al-Ø …
here round-INCH-3s.ABS dent.PASS-MOD.V.INTR dedicate-ABSTR=TOP 3s.ERG-carve-ABSTR=TOP 3s.ERG-bind-NMLS
here became round, was dented the dedicated, its carving, its bound …
b … a-ALAY-ya bo-t’a?-ja yu-xu-li-li u-k’a-li …
… alay boht’?-aj-Ø y-uxul-il u-k’al-Ø …
here dent.PASS-MOD.V.INTR 3s.ERG-carve-ABSTR 3s.ERG-bind-NMLS
here was dented its carving, its bound …
c bo-t’a?-ja yu-xu-li u-ja-yi ?-? …
boht’?-aj-Ø y-uxul-i[l] u-jay ? …
dent.PASS.MOD.V.INTR-3s.ABS 3s.ERG-carve-ABSTR 3s.ERG-clay.bowl
it was dented its carving, its clay bowl ? …

Table 2. Linguistic analysis of the three examples of bo-t’a?-ja. a) Xcalumkin Lintel 1 Stone I, blocks A-G; b) Jamb of unknown provenance in the Museo Amparo, blocks A3-B5; c) Ceramic vessel of unknown provenance in Dumbarton Oaks, blocks A1-B2.


a
b c

Figure 5. Examples of the suspected bo-t’a-ja spelling. a) Xcalumkin Lintel 1 Stone I, block C (photo by Hanns J. Prem, drawing by Sven Gronemeyer); b) Jamb of unknown provenance in the Museo Amparo, block B3 (photo by Karl Herbert Mayer, drawing by Christian Prager [Mayer 1995: pls. 233, 237]); c) Carved ceramic vessel of unknown provenance in Dumbarton Oaks (DO 114), block A1 (drawing by Sven Gronemeyer).

Clearly, the term refers to the process of carving out glyph blocks from the background. In all of these examples, the elevated glyph blocks are elaborated in a bas-relief within the text field, as made explicit by y-uxul(-il), “its carving” and further corroborated on Xcalumkin Lintel 1 Stone I by pet-aj, “it was made round”.4)The spelling yu-xu-li-li-le on Xcalumkin Lintel 1, blocks E-F provides an interesting case. Although the two li signs clearly indicate an –il abstractive (or possessive) suffix, I interpret the le sign as the topic marker =e’, discussed by Alfonso Lacadena and Søren Wichmann (2002: 287-288) in other instances as evidence for Yukatekan vernacular influence. The Xcalumkin example is an overspelling that, instead of simply applying -li-le, produces a highly analytical form using a shallow orthography. The same enclitic appears in in block D as well, likely spelling tzi-tzi-li-le for tzitz-il=e[’]. Yucatec has a variety of entries for tzitz, including “bendecir, rociar” and “escurrir el agua”, as well as tzitza’n “cosa esquinada” (Barrera Vásquez 1980: 862); Itza has tziitz “splash, flick water with fingers” (Hofling & Tesucún 1997: 629). Another related form could be Ch’orti’ tzitz “a sowing, a scattering“ (Wisdom 1950: 730). Although we cannot securely tie the Xcalumkin example semantically to the “besprinkling” of a text, it nevertheless seems likely that it represents a dedicatory context.

A graphematic argument can also be made in favour of the supposed t’a? sign in the spelling bot’? in this context, in addition to the evidence for its lexical and semantic productivity. Most passive spellings tend to alter any potential root harmonic spelling from CV1-CV1 to CV1-Ca in order to provide the vocalic onset for the –aj thematic suffix (Lacadena 2004: 166-167, Gronemeyer 2014: 251-253, 304-325).

Distinguishing the Possible <t’a> Sign from <o> Allographs

This proposal of a second context in which to apply the t’a? reading to produce a meaningful reading bot’ raises the question of graphic variability. In previous reading attempts (Lacadena 2012: 54, fn. 14), the grapheme was considered as a graphic variant of either T99o, T279o, T280o, or T296o; or T87TE’ because of its close resemblance to these signs (Figure 6).

a b c d e

Figure 6. Comparison of graphemes similar to the proposed sign. a) T99; b) T279; c) T280; d) T296; e) T87. All images from Thompson (1962).

Applying these correspondences to the aforementioned context would yield a root bo’, bo[h], or bo[j]. Of these possibilities, only boj “to nail, drill” may be a semantically viable option (cf. pCh *b’oj, “clavar, barrenar” [Kaufman & Norman 1984: 117]; CHT boho, “barrenar” [Morán 1695: 11]; boh, “golpe de madero hueco” [Barrera Vásquez 1983: 60]), showing some relationship to the affective verb baj “to hammer” (Kaufman & Norman 1984: 116, Zender 2010). Another related form is bo[j]te’ in the semantic domain “fence, hedge” (cf. Lacadena [2012: fn. 14] for lexical evidence), but none of these options seems particularly probable for graphematic, morphophonemic, and semantic reasons. Why would a scribe have then written bo-o-aj instead of bo-ja-ja or bo-jo-ja?

A brief comparison of the different graphemes in Figure 6 can further clarify why the reading bo-o-ja cannot be favoured. T279 and T280 are attested in many contexts as the syllabogram o (Figure 7), a pars pro toto derivation of the front feather of T1066o, the so-called O-Bird cited in the Ritual de los Bacabes (possibly also read O’ [cf. Fitzsimmons 2012]). Although the bulbous end and the row of circular elements are optional, the feather always features a crosshatched area at or near the tip. This feature is absent in all examples of the proposed t’a? sign.

a b c d

Figure 7. Examples of different T279 and T280 signs. a) ha-o-bo, Copan Temple 11, West Door South Panel, A4; b) MO’-o, Machaquila Structure 4, Fragment V, 3; c) o-ki-bi, Palenque Temple 19, Bench South Side, M7; d) o-OL-si, Yaxchilan Lintel 37, C7b. Drawings by Sven Gronemeyer.

In a late development, T99 appears as an o allograph in Yucatan, a pattern later preserved in the codices (Figure 8), where it diffuses in shape with T296. It consistently exhibits one bulbous end, a centre row of dots and a mirror-symmetrical array of lateral lines in its persistent part, thus still representing a feather. However, a cross-hatched area is absent.

a b c

Figure 8. Examples of different T99 signs. a) MO’-o-o, Codex Dresden 16c3, A1; b) o-chi-ya, Codex Madrid 102d2; c) K’U’-u-lu-o-to-ti, Chichen Itza Akab Dzib, Lintel Front, C2. Drawings by Sven Gronemeyer.

Although the t’a? sign bears the most graphic resemblance to T99, there are in fact significant differences. Taking a closer look, the elongated element of the former has a rather lobed outline and is not symmetrical, and the line of circles appears not to be on the central axis. These features are especially visible in the Xcalumkin example, and less elaborated in Ikil and the Museo Amparo monuments (see the photo, rather than drawing). These characteristics, together with the given contexts, clearly prove that the proposed t’a? sign constitues a distinct grapheme with a syllabic value different from the bird feather o.

Yet Another Context for the <t’a> Sign?

There is one instance of T99 where the grapheme could be read as t’a instead of the usual value o. This interpretation would contradict the principle of multiple syllabic readings for one sign (Zender 1999: 56); however, diagnostic features of two signs are amalgamated in other contexts, in a blurring of distinctions between signs also observable in several graphemes recorded at Chichen Itza.5)For example, compare the spelling of K’AK’-k’u-PAKAL-la on Chichen Itza Stela 1, C6. The spelling for PAKAL resembles more the T594 checkerboard sign from the name of GIII, rather than the standard T624a,b sign. An example of T624c, the tasselled shield outline with the checkerboard design, can for example be found on Lintel 4, F2 from the Temple of the Four Lintels.

a b

Figure 9. Chichen Itza, Temple of the Four Lintels (Str. 7B4), Lintel 2. a) Photo of the lintel (Bayer 1937: pl. 8c); b) drawing of block A8 by Sven Gronemeyer.

Block A8 of Lintel 2 of the Temple of the Four Lintels is the last constituent of a nominal phrase. Its main sign is the undeciphered crouched body sign T226 (not to be confused with T703, which has a penis in place of the head). On Tonina Monument 161, block L (Graham and Henderson 2006: 102), this sign appears suffixed by –ta-ja, indicating an inchoative derivation of a noun; thus, the sign can be classified as a logogram.

Considering the high percentage of syllabic spellings and the shallow orthography used in Chichen Itza because of the diglossia situation (cf. Lacadena 2008: 1, 18, Gronemeyer 2014: 472), it is likely that the other two signs in block A8 of Lintel 2 function as phonemic complements. When applying the proposed t’a value in this case, and also considering the eroded, but still recognisable li sign, we may propose the reading T’AL? for T226.

This relates to some interesting lexical evidence for a positional root in the Yukatekan branch: YUK t’al, “agonizante, que no se muere” and “asentado sin firmeza, ligeramente puesto” (Barrera Vásquez 1983: 832); YUK t’al, “stretch out, be in agony, unconscious” (Bricker et al. 1998: 288); ITZ t’äl, “sit” (Hofling & Tesucún 1997: 617). The representation of the crouched body would also relate to this possible reading. But as the Tonina case indicates, the root represented by this sign clearly was not positional in in this case.6)The context of the Tonina Monument 161, dedicated by K’inich Ich’ak Chapat on 9.14.18.14.12, 5 Eb’ 10 Yaxk’in (AD June 18, 730), is about a “fire-entering” in the tomb of K’inich Baknal Chahk (Martin & Grube 2008: 186-187). Applying the proposed T’AL? reading, we can interpret block K-P as follows: och[-i] k’a[h]k’ t’al-t-aj u-muk?-nal k’inich bak-nal cha[h]k k’uh po[po’] ajaw, “fire entered, he became seated in his tomb, K’inich Baknal Chahk, the Tonina-God-King.” This account could relate to a post-mortal treatment of the corpse, e.g. a bundling of the bones. Furthermore, in Classic Mayan, positional roots may blur with transitive verbs in their inflection (Wichmann 2002: 7-8).

However, arguing with one undeciphered sign to support another decipherment may quickly become circular. This excursus is thus nothing more than a thought experiment. And it is still far from certain that the context here indeed represents the putative t’a? sign, and not the regular T99o sign.

T66 as a Possible Allograph

Elisabeth Wagner (1995) also mentions the examples from Ikil and Uxmal in her discussion of T66 as another possible t’a syllabogram (Figure 10a). Part of her argument draws on the painted capstone from the so-called “Tomb of Unknown Location” (Figure 10b).

a b

Figure 10. a) T66 (Thompson 1962); b) Chichen Itza Painted Capstone (Beyer 1937: pl. 13a).

In block E, we find T66?-T501ba in a position and context that resembles that of Uxmal Capstone 2, which makes T66 a possible allograph of the t’a? sign discussed here, spelling t’ab?. Again, no mediopassive form is indicated, and the following ma-ka in block F is also ambiguous. Although it could be interpreted as an underspelled passive ma[h]k-a[j], interpreting these spellings as the nominalised forms t’ab? mak, “it is ascended, it is covered” would create a couplet structure. The codices provide other contexts for T66, but discussion of these would stray too far from the current case.

A short remark must also be made on sign shape. T66 is a tripartite grapheme, with each part made up of a circular and bulbous element that shows some compositional similarity to the t’a? sign discussed here. Either way, T66 could be a multiplication of the single t’a? sign, or the latter could be an abbreviated version of the former.7)Both strategies of sign manipulation are well attested with other syllabograms in the graphematic lexicon of Maya writing, e.g. T604k’u and T149k’u, or T93ch’a, T603ch’a and T634k’u.

Conclusions

The context of t’ab? for the original proposal of the putative t’a? syllable is potentially enhanced by another occurrence discussed in this note, in which it may function as a pre-posed phonemic complement. Although the Ikil example could be considered a full phonemic substitution, the Uxmal case would account for a full phonemic complementation, if the signs are indeed the same (acknowledging the inaccuracy of many of Blom’s glyph drawings). The latter example may also point to an allograph.

More support for the t’a? grapheme comes from the context of the proposed bot’ reading in several dedicatory phrases. These instances also provide a series of subgraphemic details that help to delimitate these graphs from other o signs and support the status of the t’a? form as a completely different syllabogram. There are potentially two additional cases, but these appear in the context of two still undeciphered logograms.

Yet we still lack conclusive evidence to add a t’a syllabogram to the grid without question mark, if strict standards are applied. Ideally, at least a third context for the sign under discussion should be found to fulfil the following premises: the sign occurs in contexts in which it 1) functions as a syllabogram, 2) proves to be distinct from the different o variants, 3) exhibits vowel harmony with known syllabograms, either within the root or with a following suffix, and 4) complements a deciphered logogram. Ideally, more evidence should be found outside Late and Post-Classic Yucatan. Nonetheless, except for the dubious case from Piedras Negras, the sign seems to be a late invention.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Nikolai Grube, Christian Prager, and Elisabeth Wagner for comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this note. Mallory Matsumoto kindly corrected the English.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. This research paper abstains from indicating or reconstructing vowel complexity on the basis of supragraphematic vowel disharmony, as has been proposed in two studies (Houston, Stuart & Robertson 1998, Lacadena & Wichmann 2004). There are two main reasons for this approach: 1) although both proposals operate under similar premises, their conclusions are rather distinct; and 2) no consensus has yet been reached on the mechanisms of disharmonic spellings, resulting in alternative views on the reasons underlying the phenomenon of vowel disharmony (e.g. Kaufman 2003, Mora-Marín 2004, Gronemeyer 2014). We neither neglect previous research nor entirely dismiss the possibility of a quantitative Classic Mayan vowel system and its orthographic indication. Before the project has collected sufficient epigraphic data and can test previous proposals against the existing evidence or formulate new hypotheses, we prefer to pursue an unprejudiced approach in our epigraphic analysis and to be rather conservative, while also noting that the transcriptional spelling in one model may vary between authors. We therefore apply a broad transliteration and a narrow transcription, but only as far as sounds can be reconstructed using methods from historical linguistics. This last point particularly concerns the aspirated vowel nucleus, as in e.g., k’a[h]k’.
2. For example, compare the accounts of Bajlaj Chan K’awil seeking refuge in different places as mentioned on Dos Pilas Hieroglyphic Stairways 2 and 4 (cf. Guenter 2003), or its use in association with other warfare events or tribute scenes (Stuart 1998: 409-416).
3. A similar instance may appear on Uxmal Ball-court Sculpture 1, block F (Graham 1992: 119), where we might have the bulbous part of the supposed t’a? sign on top of the “step verb”. However, this occurrence cannot be confirmed because of the block’s badly weathered state and the fracture in the middle.
4. The spelling yu-xu-li-li-le on Xcalumkin Lintel 1, blocks E-F provides an interesting case. Although the two li signs clearly indicate an –il abstractive (or possessive) suffix, I interpret the le sign as the topic marker =e’, discussed by Alfonso Lacadena and Søren Wichmann (2002: 287-288) in other instances as evidence for Yukatekan vernacular influence. The Xcalumkin example is an overspelling that, instead of simply applying -li-le, produces a highly analytical form using a shallow orthography. The same enclitic appears in in block D as well, likely spelling tzi-tzi-li-le for tzitz-il=e[’]. Yucatec has a variety of entries for tzitz, including “bendecir, rociar” and “escurrir el agua”, as well as tzitza’n “cosa esquinada” (Barrera Vásquez 1980: 862); Itza has tziitz “splash, flick water with fingers” (Hofling & Tesucún 1997: 629). Another related form could be Ch’orti’ tzitz “a sowing, a scattering“ (Wisdom 1950: 730). Although we cannot securely tie the Xcalumkin example semantically to the “besprinkling” of a text, it nevertheless seems likely that it represents a dedicatory context.
5. For example, compare the spelling of K’AK’-k’u-PAKAL-la on Chichen Itza Stela 1, C6. The spelling for PAKAL resembles more the T594 checkerboard sign from the name of GIII, rather than the standard T624a,b sign. An example of T624c, the tasselled shield outline with the checkerboard design, can for example be found on Lintel 4, F2 from the Temple of the Four Lintels.
6. The context of the Tonina Monument 161, dedicated by K’inich Ich’ak Chapat on 9.14.18.14.12, 5 Eb’ 10 Yaxk’in (AD June 18, 730), is about a “fire-entering” in the tomb of K’inich Baknal Chahk (Martin & Grube 2008: 186-187). Applying the proposed T’AL? reading, we can interpret block K-P as follows: och[-i] k’a[h]k’ t’al-t-aj u-muk?-nal k’inich bak-nal cha[h]k k’uh po[po’] ajaw, “fire entered, he became seated in his tomb, K’inich Baknal Chahk, the Tonina-God-King.” This account could relate to a post-mortal treatment of the corpse, e.g. a bundling of the bones. Furthermore, in Classic Mayan, positional roots may blur with transitive verbs in their inflection (Wichmann 2002: 7-8).
7. Both strategies of sign manipulation are well attested with other syllabograms in the graphematic lexicon of Maya writing, e.g. T604k’u and T149k’u, or T93ch’a, T603ch’a and T634k’u.

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