Chocolat - Mayan Fortune Telling Disc

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Krats

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I was wondering whether anyone had any information about the Mayan disc Vianne spins to tell fortunes in the movie Chocolat?

I’ve been interested in making it for some time but am struggling to find reference. I bought the Blue Ray but I can’t get a clear pic as the damn thing is always spinning! Looked into contacting the art director but she passed away in 2005 and can’t seem to get any solid info on prop master.

Here’s what reference I’ve managed to gather so far from the movie:

ref03.jpg ref05.jpg ref06.jpg ref02.jpg

And here’s some info about the central image which I eventually managed to track down to the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (sound familiar to anyone else?):

Dumbarton Oaks.png

The glyphs I have not been able to identify despite some fairly thorough internet searching. Given that the centre piece was copied I'd suspect reference was used for these too but can't seem to find the source. Here’s my best guess at the what they look like. I traced the images from the Blue Ray repeatedly and overlaid the different versions to refine the design.

Chocolat-disc-rough.jpg

I’ve started a sculpt in clay using available reference but I may have chosen the wrong technique. I used a recent project as a test but it seems I was a little over confident in my abilities. Trying to get the lines clean and the recessed surface flat is problematic, particularly when things are so fiddly.

Chocolat-WIP-01.jpg Chocolat-WIP-02.jpg
Chocolat-WIP-03.jpg Chocolat-WIP-04.jpg
Chocolat-WIP-05.jpg

If anyone has any more reference for this project (or sculpting advice) it would be gratefully received, otherwise I’ll keep chipping away at it using the best guess reference I have pieced together.
 

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RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What if you made a flat layer, then used your reference to cut out a layer to lay on top? Then you'd just have the internal details to worry about. You can lay your reference on top of the clay and use a pin to transfer the lines, and then just play dot-to-dot to recreate the design.

Interesting you found the reference in the Dumbarton Oaks collection! It's not one I recognise, but I will check my library when I get home. If you're super keen and anywhere near London you could check the anthropology library there, they have a fantastic South American collection!
 

Krats

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What if you made a flat layer, then used your reference to cut out a layer to lay on top? Then you'd just have the internal details to worry about. You can lay your reference on top of the clay and use a pin to transfer the lines, and then just play dot-to-dot to recreate the design.

Interesting you found the reference in the Dumbarton Oaks collection! It's not one I recognise, but I will check my library when I get home. If you're super keen and anywhere near London you could check the anthropology library there, they have a fantastic South American collection!

Yes, I think starting from a flat layer and building up on top of that might have been a smarter plan of attack. At the moment I’m slicing pieces out, flattening the base then adding the raised details back in. Some finer tools might help too.

Chocolat-Update-260418.jpg

I’m over Northampton way but we get into London fairly regularly. Don’t hold out much hope that I can convince the family to head to the Anthropology Library but perhaps I can slip away whilst they’re distracted.

If clay isn't working, what about carving plaster?

I’d not even considered plaster but I can see it would be far easier to get the clean lines I’m after. The other option I considered was oven bake polymer so I could harden up the rough forms as I worked and cut back into it to sharpen up the details. I’ll persevere a while longer with the chavant but I think plaster is a good option if I give up on this attempt. Thanks for the pointer.
 

RobertMuldoon

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I’m over Northampton way but we get into London fairly regularly. Don’t hold out much hope that I can convince the family to head to the Anthropology Library but perhaps I can slip away whilst they’re distracted.
Helpfully the library is actually in the British Museum (very close to the back entrance), so maybe you can have a family trip to the museum for summer holidays! The only (really annoying) caveat is that the library isn't open on weekends or bank holidays - which frustrates the hell out of me!

I had a look through my books last night but I couldn’t find anything obvious, but I did find something I should have thought of yesterday – codices. There are a lot of them, and they vary stylistically but you will find some which have this style.

You’ll also find some which have the glyphs around the edge too. So maybe the original prop’s creator just found a codex and copied the figure and glyphs.

Here's a couple of examples:
Codex.JPG CodexGods.JPG
 
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