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Codex Borgia: The Boiling Pot

Codex Borgia: The Boiling Pot

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Published by Cliff
A section of a plate from the Codex Borgia that depicts a human head and limbs in a clay vessel. Ancient depicted Sign language was used to translate the meaning of the composition.
A section of a plate from the Codex Borgia that depicts a human head and limbs in a clay vessel. Ancient depicted Sign language was used to translate the meaning of the composition.

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Published by: Cliff on Dec 22, 2013
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09/03/2014

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Codex Borgia:The Boiling Pot
Clifford C. Richey
December 2013
It will be useful to refer to:http://www.scribd.com/doc/125076415/Universl!"rehistoric!#epicted!$i%n!&n%u%ewhen redin% this pper s it e'plins the use of (orm) Im%er*) +esture si%ns)$tnce)llusion nd position s these were used in composin% %l*phs.
 
,his composition is trnslted usin% the -nown rules of depicted si%n ln%u%e. ,he $ettin% is one of  (i%ure nd limbs t the mouth of  essel. If  person) who didnt -now the rules of depicted si%n ln%u%e. viewed this composition the* would probbl* ust see the (i%ures hed nd limbs in the vessel s well s the colorful s-ulls on the lower sides of the vessel. ,he rest of the composition would pper to be  me of sui%%l*) nonsensicl) lines.,his pper ws written in n ttempt to provide some) be%innin%) insi%ht into the ver* complicted mess%es found in the 3ode' or%i. lthou%h it isnt -nown with certint* which prehistoric 3entrl mericn culture produced the 3ode' it does pper st*listicll* relted to the tec culture.,here re  few problems in trnsltin% this composition. ,here ppers to be some dm%e to prts of  few si%ns due to deteriortion b* %in% so not ll the si%ns cn be ccurtel* trnslted. ,here is lso  problem with the menin% of the colors red nd *ellow. ,he red color m* represent or be relted to
rebirth
 while the *ellow m* relted to
the Sun.
 ot ll the 3entrl mericn cultures used the colors in the sme mnner lthou%h there were similrities. #espite these issues the min theme of the composition is uite cler s bein% cosmolo%icl in nture nd relted to deth nd the fterlife.,he trnsltion in this pper uses blue colored print with comments in %r*. (orm nd Im%er* re cpitlied in order to seprte them from their ssocitive menin%. e be%in our trnsltion with the lr%est) overll) (orm nd wor- our w* down throu%h the incresin%l* smller (orm nd Im%er*. 3omms re used to seprte the words nd phrses represented b* the si%ns. "rphrsin% hs been consciousl* -ept to  minimum in this trnsltion. ,his ws done so tht the reder could more esil* trc- the use of the si%ns within the composition.
 Illustration 1: Codex Borgia: A Section of Page 10
 
,he ,otl (orm of this composition doesnt m-e much sense but if it is seprted into the three distinct(orms it depicts  (ire under the essel with $tem stemmin% from the top of the essel. ,he essel ws used) b* the scribe) s  metphor for the 8rth. ,he 8rth ws conceptulied s  %ret continer of wter. +iven the %eolo%icl conditions found in 3entrl meric the cultures were wre of res of the erth tht spewed out hot volcnic wter. $uch conditions m* hve inspired this composition. ,he %esture si%ns for (ire nd $tem re prett* much the sme e'cept in si%nin% for stem the %esture si%n is mde bove the si%ners hed.
1
 ,he sme is lso true s  %esture si%n to indicte $mo-e.e cn see some) v%ue) resemblnce to the %esture si%n nd the fire in the composition. ut we lso -now tht %esture si%ns were not lw*s used when it would be esier nd clerer to ust depict the obect. (or e'mple) there is little reltionship between the %esture si%n for  (ro% 9 umpin% motion mde with the ri%ht hnd ner the left shoulder nd the depiction of  (ro%.
1,om-ins) illim #over "ublictions) Inc. Indin $i%n &n%u%e) ew ;or-) 1<6<. "p. 2=!2<.
 FIRE
 (meaning: blaze). Carry right arm well down in front of body, fingers partially closed; raise hand slightlyand snap fingers upwards. Repeat.
STEAMBOAT
 (meaning: fire-boat). a!e the sign for "#$%; then sign for &'R, holding hand a little higher than the head.
SMOKE
same as &ire but continue raising hand higher until oer head.
 Illustration 2: The Fire The !essel. The Stea" Illustration #: $esture for Fire

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