Dr. Ellen R. Kintz
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology

This adventure is dedicated to an array of Latin American subjects. I hope that it provides a portrait of the other and a reflection and critique of ourselves.

Click the Image and Explore...Life Under the Tropical Canopy




Mexican Artist

b. 1907? - d. 1954

Frida Kahlo - a woman of extreme magnetism and originality....and artist whose sensual vibrancy came straight from her own experiences...her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution, a devastating accident at age eighteen which left her crippled and unable to bear children, her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and intermittent love affairs with men as diverse as Isamu Noguchi and Leon Trotsky, her association through Rivera with the Communist party, her absorption in Mexican folklore and culture and her dramatic love of spectacle. Hers is the tumultuous life of an extraordinary twentieth-century woman, a rich and haunting life and legend of a woman whose complexity is a reflection of the land in which she lived.

CLICK the Image for anExcellent Site and More Info...



The beautiful and exotic quetzal bird (left) of the tropics was valued by the precolumbian people. Its tail feathers were a resplendant blue-green and valued more than gold by the ancient Aztec.
7 Macaw (right)...lost his eye and teeth to the Twin Heros, Hunahpu and Xbalanque of the Popol Vuh epic, the Book of Council of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala [see Tedlock, Dennis 1985, The Popol Vuh, NY: Simon and Schuster]


Restless Jewelry

For those Anthropology students and alumni who remember "Red" and "Greenie" the following information is for you...

I hope that it is of interest to other Anthropology, Entomology and Coleopterology students as well... EK

There once was, I have been told, a Maya princess who fell in love with a man she would never be permitted to marry. So heartbroken was she that she wept night and day over her forbidden love. A shaman, hearing her cries and learning of her misery, transformed her into a glittering beetle, a piece of living jewelry. Her beloved pinned her to his breast. Thus she spent her life, close to the heart of the one she cherished.

Doesn't sound like much of a relationship to me, but perhaps I'm too cynical. In any event, this legend is perpetuated to the present day in Yucatán by the makech (that's Yucatec Mayan, in Spanish, it's maquech).

These large beetles spend most of their lives as larvae; their transformation into adults marks the end of their existence. Once pupated, they stop eating, breed, and die. Yucatecos decorate them with rhinestones and tether them with little gold chain leashes. Pinned to the purchaser's clothing, they spend what remains of their brief existence wandering aimlessly about, sparkling as they move.

Are they as happy to be made into living ornaments as the Maya princess was? I doubt it. Still, it probably beats being stepped on or poisoned with insecticides.

The makech above were purchased in the Mercado de Artesanias in Merída, Yucatán, Mexico.

(Credit to http://www.halfmoon.org/)



Waterlily Jaguar as the King's UAY~ animal alter-ego ~

Classic Maya Center of Seibal

The Uay Glyph. Detail from a codex style vase, showing the Waterlily Jaguar floating in the sea; the text identifies him as the uay of Seibal's king. The belief in an alter-ego, that dates back to the Classic period (or earlier), has continued to this very day!



The Hold Life Has - Cultural Identity in an Andean Community

Kitty Allen (l983)

A Quechua Song...from the Highlands of Peru

Sonqo llaqtapín In Sonqotown
Phukuy phukuychá! Blow your coca, blow!
Hayk'allamantá Just how long
Llakikúnki? Have you been grieving?
Noqa llakiní How sad I am
Waqasqaykitá To see you crying
Manan yanayúq Without a helpmate
Manan urpiyúq. Without a sweetheart.


I will be glad to receive your comments and any additions you might suggest
to this adventure dedicated to Latin America...EK


Click here to...Email me!

Dr. Ellen Kintz, Chair
Department of Anthropology
SUNY Geneseo, NY 14454

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