Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clarification on the Term "Incensario"

I just realized that some of my readers might not have know what I was referring to in my previous post when I wrote the term Palenque "incensario".  The image above is an example of an incensario that was found in the terraces of the Temple of the Cross. In reality, these large ceramic artifacts are believed to be the stands that went on top of the incensario (Spanish word for censor).  The censors and their associated stands were used by ancient Palencanos to burn incense for the veneration of their 3 major gods.
Above is an image of a North American totum pole.  The man standing beside the pole is unidentified in the book from which I scanned this photo (Nabokov and Easton 1989).  The reason that I include a picture of a totum pole here is because Miguel Angel Fernandez, an archaeologist who excavated at Palenque in the 1940's was one of the first to notice the resemblance of the incensarios to North American totum poles.  According to Alfonso Morales, one of the more recent archaeologist who has worked at Palenque, the earliest term used to describe the "porta-incensarios" was "cilindro".


Elaine Day Schele said...

hi elaine,

the stands are also referred as "porta-incensarios" in spanish since they are "carrying" the censers.


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