Re: ME: Hand/Finger Positions
- I've wondered about this hand position myself. It occurs too frequently
to be due to chance. I once had the opportunity to view some
anthropological film of a shaman in Taiwan who was utilizing a
blood-letting ritual. The shaman's ritual involved dance and the
cutting of his tongue with a long knife. The ritual led to the
"possession" of the shaman, or appearance of the shaman's nagual or
perhaps a diety, I can't remember the details. What was striking about
the transition from shaman to supernatural entity were the mannerisms of
the shaman--he became cross-eyed, spoke differently, and physically
acted in a distinctive way. Artists depicting this kind of event in the
Maya world clearly loaded their representations with information
depicting these sorts of shamanistic events. Perhaps this particular
hand position is relevant in this regard.
- In sign languages of the world, the hand shape
>The thumb appears to be touching the tip of the middlefinger.
is a very rare one, almost always with a strong connection to a cluster of
meanings. For American Sign Language and for some sign languages in Europe,
the meanings cluster around "sensitive, feel, ..." This might suggest a line
of interpretation for dance or shamanic uses in Mesoamerica, but an
independent study of pre-Columbian hand signs (pottery, sculpture) and of the
sign languages used in Mesoamerican communities would be important to do.