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Copal – Tree Blood

Copal is a smoky sweet incense got from the sap of the tree that was utilized in numerous ceremonial services by old North American Aztec and Maya societies. Incense was produced using the new sap of trees: copal sap is one of a few resinous oils that are reaped from the bark of specific trees or bushes all over the planet.

Albeit “copal” gets from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word “copalli”, today copal is utilized all the more conventionally to allude to gums and pitches from trees all over the planet. Copal advanced into English through a 1577 English interpretation of Indigenous Medicinal Traditions incorporated by the sixteenth-century Spanish doctor Nicolás Monardes. This article talks basically for North American opals; For more data on different copals, see Tree pitches and archaic exploration.

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Utilizing Copal

Numerous hardwood tree gums were utilized as fragrant incense by most pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies for various customs. The pitch was thought of as the “blood of trees”. The flexible sap was likewise utilized as a cover for the shades utilized on Maya paintings; In Hispanic times, copal was utilized in the lost wax procedure of gems making. The sixteenth-century Spanish monk Bernardino de Sahagun revealed that the Aztecs involved copal as cosmetics, glues for covers, and in dentistry where copal was blended in with calcium phosphate to attach valuable stones to teeth. was. Copal was likewise utilized as a biting gum and medication for different infirmities.

Barely any examinations have been finished on broad materials recuperated from the Great Temple (Templo Mayor) in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán. These curios were tracked down in stone boxes under structures or covered straightforwardly as a component of development fillings. Among the curios related to copal were puppets, bunches and copal sticks, and stately blades with copal glue at the base.

Prehistorian Naoli Lona (2012) analyzed 300 bits of copal found in the Templo Mayor, including around 80 models. He observed that they were made with an internal center of copal, which was then covered with a layer of mortar and framed by a twofold-sided form. Then the icons were painted and given paper robes or banners.

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Different Species

Verifiable references to the utilization of copal incorporate the Mayan book Popol Vuh, which contains a long section depicting how the sun, moon, and stars came to Earth with copal. This report likewise clarifies that the Maya gathered various sorts of gum from various plants; Sahagun additionally composed that Aztec copal likewise came from different plants.

Frequently, American copals contain pitches from different individuals from the tropical Burseraceae (torchwood) family. Other sap-bearing plants that are known or thought to be American wellsprings of copal incorporate hymenia, a vegetable; Pinus (pines or pinyons); Jatropha (Spurge); and juice (sumac).

There are 35-100 individuals from the Burseraceae family in America. Bursera is profoundly resinous and discharges an unmistakable pine-lemon scent when a leaf or branch is broken. Different Bursera individuals that are known or thought to be utilized in Maya and Aztec people group are B. Bipinnata, B. stenophila, b. Simruba, B. Grandifola, b. Excelsa, b. Laxiflora, b. penicillata, and B. Copolyfera.

These produce tars appropriate for copal. Gas-chromatography has been utilized to endeavor to resolve the issue of recognizable proof, yet distinguishing the particular tree from archeological stores has demonstrated troublesome in light of the fact that the gums have very much like atomic arrangements. After a broad concentration on the instances of Templo Mayor, Mexican paleontologist Mathé Lucero-Gómez and his partners accept that they found B. bipinata and additionally B. stenophila has been related to an Aztec inclination.

Assortments Of Copal

Verifiable and current business sectors in Central and North America perceive a few assortments of copal, halfway in light of which plant the gum came from, yet in addition in view of the collecting and handling strategy utilized.

Wild copal, likewise called gum or stone copal, normally overflows out through the bark of the tree because of forceful bug assaults, for example, earthy colored droppings that demonstrate to obstruct pores. Reapers utilize a bent blade to cut or scratch new droppings from the bark, which are joined into a delicate round globe. Different layers of paste are added until the ideal shape and size are accomplished. The external layer is then smoothed or cleaned and exposed to intensity to upgrade the cement properties and fortify the mass.

White, Gold, And Black Copal

The favored kind of copal is the white copal (copal Blanco or “the holy person”, “penca” or agave leaf copal), and it is gotten by making corner-to-corner slices through the bark into the branches or parts of a tree. The smooth sap streams into a holder (an agave or aloe leaf or gourd) set at the foot along a channel cut under the tree. The sap solidifies into its holder shape and is accessible in the market with practically no processing. ing to Hispanic records, this type of pitch was utilized as Aztec recognition, and pochteca merchants moved from the distant subject areas to Tenochtitlan. Like clockwork, so it was said, 8,000 bundles of wild copal enclosed by maize leaves and 400 containers of white copal in bars were brought into Tenochtitlan as a component of a recognition installment.

Copal Oro (gold copal) is the sap that is gotten by the total expulsion of the bark of a tree, and copal negro (dark copal) is supposed to be gotten from beating the bark.

Handling Methods

By and large, the Lacandón Maya made copal from the pitch pine tree (Pinus pseudostrobus), utilizing the “white copal” technique portrayed above, and afterward, the bars were beaten into a thick glue and put away in huge gourd bowls to be copied as incense as nourishment for the divine beings.

The Lacandón additionally designed knobs, molded like maize ears and pieces: some proof recommends copal incense was in a deep sense associated with maize for Maya gatherings. A portion of the copal contributions from Chichen Itza’s consecrated very much was painted greenish blue and implanted bits of worked jade.

The technique utilized by the Maya Ch’orti included gathering the gum, allowing it to dry for a day, and afterward bubbling it with water for nearly eight to ten hours. The gum ascends to the surface and is skimmed off with a gourd scoop. The gum is then positioned into cold water to solidify fairly, then, at that point, molded into round, prolonged pellets about the size of a stogie, or into circles about the size of a little coin. After it turns out to be hard and weak, the copal is wrapped into corn shucks and either utilized or sold on the lookout.

 

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