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All of the Figures are mirror images on the back side, except for the three marked by parentheses. The arrows indicate which direction the Figures face. Underlined numbers are figures which face both ways.

Figure 14.28. The schematic contents of a Nazca textile as described by Martin (1991) and Haeberli (1996), who maintains that it is a calendar. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

Nazca—see Table 14.4). A diagram of the textile is shown in Figure 14.28 and the individual figures in Figure 14.29.

In the center of the textile are four rows of eight representations, each showing a full face view of the head of the "Oculate Being" (a head with rayed appendages). Such heads are associated elsewhere in the Andes with the Sun. Around the edges in the front are 90 'figures'.12 On the reverse, there are mirror images of 87 of these "figures" and back views of three. For ease of reference, scholars identify the figures according to numbers assigned by d'Harcourt (1962), clockwise from the upper left. There is no firm evidence that the sequence was to be read clockwise, and the beginning point is structurally inappropriate in terms of the sequence of figures. The style of these figures seems to be closely related to textiles and ceramics of Nazca 2. Haeberli (1996, pp. 126-136) identifies 48 different figures, 29 of which appear only once and 19 of which are repeated from two to six times. Many of the figures are repeated in closely similar forms sharing comparable iconographic attributes, but many others show minor variations and substantially more lumping may be possible. The iconography of the figures emphasizes agricultural plants (45% are associated with plants and fruits [Haeberli 1996, p. 136]). Fish and water animals, important elsewhere in Nazca culture, are unimportant on this textile. The rivers of the Ica and Nazca valleys normally carry water at the present time for somewhat less than six months a year (Haeberli 1996, p. 136), mostly between late September and March. Patrick Carmichel (private communcation, 1996) informs us, on the basis of his field work, that the most crucial factor in Nazca agriculture is not rainfall but runoff from the Andes between January and March. Nearly all agricultural work is done from January to June. Curiously, from our viewpoint, the first work of the new agricultural season is the harvest of the crops planted in the previous May or June.

12 Some of the "figures" are scenes: a man leading a llama, three anthro-pomorphs standing together, a cat associated with a tree, and others.

Martin (1991) says that there are "about 30" unique figures, plus repeating groups, very close to Haeberli's 29 and 19. The sides have been lettered clockwise A, B, C, D. The top, side A, has 30 figures, and the right end, side B, has 12; the bottom, side C, has 35, and side D has 13. In Haeberli's (1996, p. 139) interpretation, the 90 figures may refer to 3 months of 30 days each; that is, each representing one day, but the figures of sides B and D also refer to months. He thinks that side B represents 11 months of 30 days each and a "mnemonic indicator" for the 35 days of side C. He argues that side D represents 12 synodic lunar months (354 days) with a "mnemonic indicator" to treat the 11 larger figures of that end also as days to be added to these months to give a total of 365 days. This complicated and unclear double usage seems to us unconvincing. His primary argument, that repetitions of figures segment the sequence in ways that suggest deliberate intent and possible lunar interest, seems much more likely. The figure repeated as numbers 2, 32, 52, and 79, if read CW, would begin the sequences of side A (2), side B (32), and side D (79). If the sequence was read CCW, these figures would become the last members of those sides. A number of items on side A are repeated on sides C and D, and two items on side B are repeated on side D. All of this makes it likely that all sides are composed of the same kinds of units. This in turn may mean that the mirror image figures on the back are also the same kind of units, but that the three figures that show back views of figures on the front are to be omitted. If the units are counted as days, we would have 90 + 87 = 177 days, which is a mean interval of six synodic months and the most frequent eclipse interval. Although we do not think that the identification of units as days is fully demonstrated, for the purposes of developing hypotheses, in the remainder of this section, we treat them as such.

The sequential ordering of the figures is puzzling. Four quadrants are defined by the directions indicated by the feet of the figures (Figure 14.28). Feet face in both directions on figures 9, 20, 39, 64, and 82. On side D, figures 85 and 86 face away from each other; figures 86 to 1 on side D and 2 to 16 on side A form an upper left quadrant of 21 figures. These meet an upper right quadrant of 21 figures (17-37), in which the feet of figures 36 to 17 face toward the figures of the upper left. However, figure 37 faces away from the other figures of the upper right quadrant and toward figure 38. In the lower right quadrant of 23 figures (38-60), figures 39-60 have feet oriented toward the center, except for figure 38. Finally, the lower left quadrant contains 25 figures (85-61) with figure 61 facing 60. In essence, all four quadrants face toward the center, except for figures 37 and 38 which seem to suggest a division into upper and lower halves. None of the directional feet orientations seem to indicate continuous movement around the entire textile either CW or CCW, but the arrangements pointed out by Haeberli do suggest a continuous sequence. Neither is there any indication of how the 90 figures on the front are to be related to the corresponding 87 figures on the back. This would seem to be difficult to understand either in terms of weather or astronomy, because no three-month period could be followed by another that is so closely similar. DHK thinks, therefore, that the primary purpose of the images was to extend the

numerical frame in which ritual or astronomical events could be placed. In later Andean times, the chronology of the agricultural season was primarily determined by the Moon. The 177 days of the textile suggests that it has a major lunar component. The 32 virtually identical heads in the center of the front of the textile should also be meaningful. If they are solar representations, one would expect them to represent either days or years. If the diverse figures of the border represent a continuous sequence of days, it seems unlikely that the figures of the center should also be days. If they represent years, then the association with the 177-day eclipse interval immediately suggests the Mayan eclipse cycle of 11,960 days, roughly 323/4 years (the Fox; see §§5.2.2, 12.11, 12.12). If we have a period of 177 days representing the agricultural season, it should begin near the December

(summer) solstice with the melt water from the Andes. In this textile, there are three different sets of iconographically defined figures marked with a repeated S-shape. The figures of one such set (2, 32, 52, and 79) are positioned so that one figure is at the beginning/ending point for three of the four sides. We have argued that S-shaped designs elsewhere seem to have the function of marking intervals, and DHK regards that as a possibility in this textile. Another set of figures appears at positions 67 and 73. For present purposes, however, the most interesting set (figures 6, 13, 21, 58, 71, and 84) consists of representations of a humanoid figure with serpents emerging from the head (as hair?). The humanoid figure is holding a smaller figure that in turn is holding a plant and possibly a bow and arrow. The main figure is shown devouring an animal, identified as a feline by

i 89

i 89

Martin (1991). We have discussed feline imagery associated with the Sun and occasionally other figures among the Moche. A deity eating a feline seems iconographically reasonable as an eclipse reference. Six such representations could easily signify a series of locally visible eclipses in a Fox cycle. In Mayan tables, the entire 11,960 day sequence is represented. If such a sequence was compressed into the frame of a single year (or half-year), the resulting record may resemble the Nazca textile. The compression may be accomplished through the placement of distinctive figures at critical intervals in the sequences marking a remainder in days from the 1st eclipse of the series. In making such a calculation of remainders, one would need to subtract integral numbers of years. In later Andean cultures, both the 360-day and 365-day years were in use. A modern calculation sug gests that the intervals on the textile are appropriately close to eclipse intervals in the Fox if calculated with a 360-day year, but no such similarity occurs with the 365-day year. However, a complete match with any particular eclipse series has not been found within the assumed dates of the Nazca culture.

Another iconographic set of figures shows a cat with a tree (figures 3 and 77). Again, the feline association may be solar. The interval of 74 between the figures may be significant also. Assuming that the 32 central "Suns" represent 32 years, the slippage of the 360-day year relative to the tropical year would be ~163 days in 31 years (31 x 5.25 = 162.75). In the figures sequence, the addition of 74 to 90 yields 164, an extra day added possibly to compensate for the slippage in a quarter of a year. Thus, the similar figures may be markers of the positions of an equinox (probably the March equinox) or a solstice (probably the December solstice) from cycle to cycle. If, as previously indicated, the beginning of the 90-figure sequence coincided with the onset of the rainy season in Nazca, then the December (summer) solstice would appear near the beginning of the sequence on the reverse face of the textile. DHK would suggest that figure 2 marks the Spring (September) equinox of the starting year and that figure 3 is to be understood as figure 3 of the reverse, marking the 92nd day in the solar calendar.

A fifth iconographic set (figures 42 and 80) shows a figure with a feline head-dress and holding an arch ending in what DHK thinks are animal heads (but which Martin interprets as vegetation); he interprets the arch as a rainbow snake. Stemming from the arch and head-dress are agricultural plants. Iconographically, these characteristics closely parallel those of the Moche Thunder Twin,13 although the artistic style is utterly distinct. The interval noted by the two positions is 38; this interval is approximated by taking the difference between the synodic period of Jupiter and subtracting the length of the 360-day year. Indeed, the Maya may have used 398 days for this period (see §12.22). Thus, one may suggest comparable and consistent interpretations of eclipse phenomena, the tropical year, and Jupiter relative to a calendar year of 360 days.

The two llamas of this textile (26, 50) could have a celestial connotation because llamas in the Andean tradition were widely identified with a dark cloud figure near the Milky Way associated with rain and fertility. The llamas of the textile are associated with crop plants, and these in turn with fertility. In Quechua belief, the next dark cloud figure to the llama is the fox, and it is, therefore, interesting that one of three figures wearing fox skins, according to Martin (1991), is in position 51, next to one of the llamas.

More recently, Darrell Gundrum (2000) has also studied this textile. He maintains that a single set may be read in two directions (A to B and back to A, with B counted only once). This enables him to suggest longer intervals within the course of a year. He also suggests that figures on the ends of the textiles represent the synodic lunar month (on one end) and the sidereal lunar months (on the other), and he identifies the llama on the textile as the dark cloud constellation known to the Incas as "the llama." These are interesting possibilities, but the identification of some figures as days and others as months makes it much harder to determine how repetitions of figures should be interpreted. However, Gundrum specifies iconographic associations marking his shifts, and if other such textiles are discovered, his interpretations may become checkable.

For the first time in the Andean region, we have a series of representations in which iconographic details of different kinds of (probably) supernatural figures are placed in a numerical context. If the suggestions made here for the interpretation of this textile are correct, then the astronomy it contains is surprisingly complex and observationally

13 Associated with either Jupiter or Saturn (see previous section for the argument).

sophisticated. If similar interpretations can be made for other figures of the textile, that will be the best support we are likely to obtain. However, it may eventually be possible to relate some of the figures to Nazca alignments (on the basis of similar iconography) or to quipus (on the basis of shared numerical features). In any case, the possibilities are exciting.

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