Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/171

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these, again, a writer of the early part of this century, Galindo, says: "The physiognomies of the human figure in alto-relievo indicate that they represent a race not differing from the modern Indians; they were, perhaps, taller than the latter, who are of a middle, or rather small stature, compared with Europeans. There are also found among the ruins stones for grinding maize, shaped exactly like those employed to-day by the Central American and Mexican Indians. They consist of a stone slab (metatl) with three feet, all made from one piece, and a stout stone roller, with which the women crush the maize on the slab. Though the Maya language is not spoken in all its purity in this neighborhood, I am of opinion that it was derived from the ancient people that left these ruins, and that it is one of the ancient languages of America. It is still used by most of the Indians, and even by the other inhabitants of the eastern part of Tabasco, Peten, and Yucatan. Books are printed in Maya (the language of Yucatan) and the clergy preach and confess the Indians in the same language."

These observations are thrown out, not to impede the progress of the reader, but to stimulate thought upon a subject which is constantly demanding and receiving increased attention from European, as well as from American scholars. In a ruined structure known as "Casa Number Two"—it is needless to say that this is not the name bestowed by its builders—is a portion of the famous sculpture known as the "Palenque Tablet," containing the figure of the cross, about which archaeologists have wrangled long and bitterly. A curious history pertains to this slab, which, so far as is known, is as follows. It was described and figured by Del Rio in 1787, and subsequently by all who visited the ruins,—Dupaix, Waldeck, Stephens, Charnay. In 1842, a portion of the sculptured slab was sent to the United States, where it now finds a resting-place in the National Museum at Washington. This portion is that represented in the right of the engraving, as containing the carven glyphs, and situated back of the human figure making the offering to the bird on the cross (see restored representation of the Palenque Cross, taken from the Report). To Professor Rau, of the Smithsonian Institu-