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Re: ME: Hand/Finger Positions

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  • Dan Potter
    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
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 2, 1997
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      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.
    • Lloyd Anderson
      In sign languages of the world, the hand shape ... finger. is a very rare one, almost always with a strong connection to a cluster of meanings. For American
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 6, 1997
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        In sign languages of the world, the hand shape

        >The thumb appears to be touching the tip of the middle
        finger.

        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.

        Lloyd Anderson
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