:: Ta Sna Maruche ~ At Maria's House ::

Yaxal Vinajel    tree    Ixim    Jaguar    Thunder    Nichimal    Kawiil    Vayijel    Maruche

:: 2018 :: 45cm x 60cm :: Acrylics, Inks and Markers on Canvas ::

Towards the end of our stay in San Cristóbal de las Casas, we had the opportunity to visit two highland Tzotzil Maya villages: San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan (often just Zinacantan, or Sotz'leb in Tzotzil). In Zinacantan, we had the opportunity to visit a Tzotzil house owned by a woman called Maruche (in Tzotzil) or Maria (in Spanish). She and her daughter Carolina were extremely talented weavers and I looked forward to the opportunity of sitting in a Maya household and attempting to practice my Tzotzil.

Entering a Tzotzil household is an event redolent with etiquette, hospitality and set phrases of politeness, a formal ritual which makes Japanese etiquette seem positively casual. I was very proud to enter Maruche's house in the correct manner, which impressed her and she clearly approved of, while her daughter found it amusing that this lanky Englishman knew some batz'i k'op - real words - but hardly any Spanish.

As we sat there, with Maruche and Carolina making tortillas, I began to become aware of how, even though I was sitting in a fairly simple home with no mod cons, I was in the presence of two people who were heirs to a three thousand year old culture, much older than my own. Maruche's shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe seemed to be little more than a Catholic veneer on a much deeper indigenous core, and as we talked in a halting mixture of Tzotzil and Spanish, I started to feel the presence of this ancient ocean of Maya identity. This was a beautiful enough experience to represent artistically, Maruche and Carolina's daily tasks overseen by Guadalupe and more subtle images of Maya ancestors.

Ta Sna Maruche

k'uxi mi li'ote, me'tik?
ja' li'one, ‘ochan me

mi nakalot to?
nakalon to jlikeluk

ta jvula'an ta jlikel
lek bi, lek oy

bueno mi xu' chi'och, me'tik?
xu'! xu'!

chotlan me, te xila
kolaval, me'tik, kolaval

mi chak'an ave' vaj xchi'uk chenek'?
lek bi, me'tik, kolaval

‘ali me, ve'an me
kolaval, me'tik

mi chavuch' jset'uk pox?
batz'i lek, me'tik, kolaval

bueno, tey ta mexa, 'uchan me
kolaval live', me'tik,
lek bi, kolaval

hello, are you here, ma'am?
I'm here, come in

are you still at home?
I'm still at home for a little while

I'll just visit you a little while
good indeed, it's good

ok, may I enter, ma'am?
of course

please sit down, here's a chair
thank you, ma'am, thank you

do you want to eat some tortillas with beans?
good indeed, ma'am, thank you

here it is, please eat
thank you, ma'am

will you drink a little sugarcane liquor?
very good, ma'am, thank you

ok, it's on the table, please drink
thanks for having me, ma'am,
it's good indeed, thank you

Maria and her Daughter


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