Link to enlarge Masculine head from Palenque Chiapas from photo by Michel Zabé WHO'S WHO IN THE CLASSIC MAYA WORLD
Peter Mathews
Popol Tz'i    A scribe(?) and parrot owner (dates unknown)COL 001
Popol Tz'i is only known from one text, a looted fragment of shell that is exquisitely incised with his name and with a portrait of his pet parrot. The surviving shell contains only a part of the original scene: the parrot is perched on a window sill and is about to eat seed from a human hand—presumably that of Popol Tz'i himself. The hieroglyphic text begins with words said by the parrot; this is the first record we have of talking parrots kept by the ancient Maya. The name of the parrot is recorded at E1a. The first sign is presumably a word for 'parrot', written logographically with a parrot head. The second sign is the syllable sign b'i, presumably a phonetic complement indicating that the final part of the parrot name ends in –b' and probably in –ib'. (The specific identification of the parrot is uncertain. It seems quite animated, which means that it is not a Norwegian Blue.) The final part of the text simply says "It is the shell of Popol Tz'i, the B'a Cheb'". The last glyph is probably a scribal title (one of the captives portrayed on Piedras Negras Stela 12, a man apparently named Tub'naj, has the same title in his name).
COL: Unknown Loc.:
Incised Shell: F1
Drawing by Peter Mathews

Complete List of Text References

What's in a Name?

Portraits - No portrait of Popol Tz'i has survived, but this shell originally contained one. His hand and the top of his headdress are visible just above the break in the shell.

Buildings Commissioned - Popol Tz'i was probably a lesser noble, and so it is unlikely he ever commissioned any public building.

Monuments Commissioned - This shell is the only known record of Popol Tz'i. Given that he was probably a scribe, it is very likely that he incised the shell himself to commemorate his pet parrot.

Genealogy -


COL:: Unknown Location, Incised Shell
Drawing by Peter Mathews (only the headdress and
hand of Popol Tz'is have survived)

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