The Chipotle Diaries: Is this pseudo Mayan ‘art’ a tribute or ripoff?

chipotlewallWhen we last visited the Chipotle Mexican Grill saga, the issue was the inability of the food chain to find any Latino writers to feature on their writer-decorated packaging.

Have they learned? An observant blogger and Mayan art geek in Philadelphia visited a Center City Chipotle Mexican Grill location and did a quick double-take when he saw the bas-relief artwork on the walls.

Here’s how University of Pennsylvania grad student Taylor Jones tells the story:

Like most people, I enjoy burritos.

Unlike most people, I also enjoy learning about ancient hieroglyphic writing systems, because I’m Indiana—er—Language Jones.

A while back, I bought Stone & Zender’s Reading Maya Art: A Heiroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture, and borrowed or checked out a number of similar books from the library. I skimmed and enjoyed them, and then returned them.

Stone & Zender took a place on my bookshelf and I moved on to other things, not anticipating I’d be able to see the Mayan ruins in Mexico any time soon.

Then it happened.

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I went to a Chipotle in Philadelphia, looked at the wall, and realized their design was more than just decoration. There, looking back at me, was K’awiil, also known as God K, the “most ubiquitous god in Classic Maya art.” Next to K’awiil was a glyph representing a lord, possibily Juun Ajaw, one of the Hero Twins. All over the wall was seeing bits and pieces of legible, decipherable Classic era Mayan art. Here, the glyph for mountain. There, a shark.

Jone’s quest (the blog entry is called Language Jones and the Temple of … Burritos) continues as he tries to track down the pseudo-Mayan artwork and then actually uses his elite hieroglyphic skills to translate the art on Chipotle’s walls.

Read it here….