National Geographic : 1975 Dec
above the dancer at right symbolizes a completed life cycle. At lower left, the white-faced victim takes her life with a leaf-shaped flint, resembling a blade found in her grave. A leader from Tikal, upper left, holds a jar of blood offerings. Red-speckled areas on other costumes pinpoint spots often chosen for ritual bloodletting to win divine favor. Farmer's almanac of bygone centuries, the Madrid Codex (far right and foldout pages) once guided Maya priests performing divination rites relating to hunting, weaving, planting, bee keeping, and rainmaking. A scribe painted the codex on a folded 22-foot length of paper made of the fig tree's inner bark that had been pounded FOLLOWING PAGES FOLD OUT and coated with fine white lime plaster. It was read left to right on both sides. Here, in Madrid's Museo de America, GEOGRAPHIC photog rapher Victor Boswell uses a guide to assure accurate color in the four-page reproduction that follows.