Posted on 12/19/2012 7:39 AM by Grace Jeffers

My grandmother used to say “Money was invented round because it is supposed to roll.”

Later in life I realized that clock faces are mostly round and thought perhaps that theory applies to time as well. Our Gregorian calendar is a chart, a grid, a line of time on which we count forward and look back. But the Mayan calendar is inherently different--it is round.

 
A modern representation of the Mayan "Calendar Round", painted by Mexican artist Patricia Martin Morales. Image Credit: Patricia Martin Morales.

Actually, the Mayans keep more than one calendar and each is a different length of time; there are three main calendars which can be seen as wheels of three different sizes rolling around each other.

 
The three interlocking wheels of the Mayan calendar.  The smaller concentric circles (a & b) are the "Tzolk'in", with 13 day numbers and 20 day glyphs for a total of  260 days; circle c is the "Haab" and is 365 days.  

Everything has a season. Fashions come and go. But time (and money) continues to roll. This is why I have decided to celebrate the infamous “end of the Mayan calendar” date of December 21, 2012 at the Mayan site of Tikal, which was the heart of their ancient world.

Jan Kath-NY has paid homage to the ancient Mesoamericans by producing this sculpted rug.


Jan Kath NY's hand-tufted and carved calendar area rug

It actually depicts the ancient Aztec calendar but both are seen as circular calendars and are related.

I personally was delighted to see this icon depicted in such a tasteful way. It sure beats those plaster models they sell in Cancun!