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The Rabbit Scribe

Rabbits have been the embodiment of different natural and human attributes. Sometimes they are seen as symbols of fertility (as they reproduce so quickly and in great numbers). Other times they are associated with the moon, as the grey patches on the moon to many cultures is a leaping rabbit. Yet some other time they are tricksters, helping the heroes of a story in defeating the bad guys.

But in a Classic Maya funerary vase from northern Guatemala, now in the Princeton University Art Museum, the rabbit was made into a scribal god! Among the Maya, divine scribes usually are monkeys. It is not known if there were any rabbit scribe gods among the Maya. The scene on the vase describes the ghastly rituals in the underworld. It may even be an illustrated chapter from the adventures of the Hero Twins (as recorded in the Quiché Maya holy book Popol Vuh). The rabbit sits below an important old god, perhaps diligently recording the human sacrifice happening in front of the old god in a jaguar-pelt bound codex. Or perhaps he's doing something else...writing poetry, history, jokes, obscene stories?

Well, the rabbit god may have been some forgotten figure in Maya mythology. Or it may have been just a playful invention on the part of the painter of the vase. We just don't know at this moment.

Transforming the Rabbit Scribe...

The following are two pictures of the same rabbit, the left one represent how he looks on a piece of paper as drawn by Michael Coe, while the right one is how he looks on Ancient Scripts' main page.

The old rabbit, as I scanned it from a black-and-white drawing. Notice the background scene: Somebody's foot, and the dark band in the middle which is the raised floor of a house. My updates to the scan...Added color, erased the background drawings, and enlarged his eye and moved it forward to make him look cuter.
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