We would know a good deal more about the Mayan culture of Yucatan if Spanish priests and missionaries had not systematically destroyed the Mayan books. Only three survive.This was the faction within the Chrsitian church that thought all pagan literature vicious and dangerous; the same mind-set that was responsible for much wholesale abolition of the Greek and Roman classics, particularly those in the poetic and conversational style that evoked song, dance, and loving glorifications of carnal experiences. The Mayans fell into the same category with their honor to pagan deities, and occasional bouts of cannibal fever which were abhorrent to devout Christians.
Above is a page from one of them, known as the paris Codex, or Codex Perez from the name written on its wrapper in a seventeenth-century Spanish hand. No one knows who Perez was, or how the book got to Europe, or why it ended up among some dusty papers in a basket in the Bibliotheque Nationale, where it was discovered in 1859. It is written on bark paper and is thought to be a ritualistic manual. At that time no one could decipher Mayan glyphs with certainty.
The Paris Codex is said to have been acquired by the Bibliothèque royale (later renamed the Bibliothèque nationale) of Paris in 1832. Its first known replication was a set of drawings attributed to Aglio and done perhaps by 1835. These drawings are now lost, but lithographic prints of them, some of which were hand-painted, are preserved as extra pages with the set of Kingsborough’s “Antiquities of México” now housed in the Newberry Library of Chicago. Though the Paris Codex was mentioned occasionally during the next 24 years, it has been said that it didn’t really make its “début” until around 1859, when Léon de Rosny was said to have “discovered” it in a box found in a dusty basket beside a fireplace in an office of the then Bibliothèque impériale (again, later renamed the Bibliothèque nationale) of Paris. Actually, an article written by José Pérez, and published in 1859 within a journal that was edited by Léon de Rosny (see below), may have been the instigating influence in introducing the Paris Codex to some of the public. Though the codex has sometimes been referred to as the “Pérez Codex” and the “Maya-Tzental Codex”, the preferred names are the “Paris Codex” and “Codex Peresianus” ….
…Color renditions of the codices are not only beautiful to look at, but also are of importance in understanding more about the Maya through their art, and their mathematical calculations. Note that red numbers and black numbers generally have different significance: the red giving the dates, the black giving differences between dates. Nearly all zeros are written in red. Unfortunately, the lithographer, apparently trying to do some touch-up work on the Rosny 1887 version of the codex, did not do a perfect job, so the accuracy of this edition (and therefore of the later Graz and Chiapas editions also) has been compromised. This is too bad, for other than the rather stylized Gates’ version, this is the only color version of this very fragile codex ever printed.Read More:http://www.famsi.org/mayawriting/codices/paris.html
( see link at end) …The author discovered that the deciphered text of the Paris codex is a ritual aiming to guide the dead belonging to the human, animal or vegetal worlds (although in this codex, it is mostly the human world which is considered, unlike in the other manuscripts), towards a rebirth in a supra-terrestrial sphere, then towards reincarnation upon earth, through uninterrupted and endless cycles, similar to the buddhist concepts. Here lies the reason why
the title of the book i
e Maya book of the dead. The author concludes in favor of a proto-mayan migration from oriental Asia to Guatemala across the Pacific, bringing over the elements of a writing system elaborated in common with
the chinese.Read More:http://patrick.negrier.perso.sfr.fr/PaulArnold.pdf