List of illustrations

  • The Bleeding Conch Vase
  • Map of Mesoamerica, showing the location of the ethnolinguistic communities mentioned in this book
  • Armadillos with ringed carapaces, eating snakes or worms: (a) Detail of vase from the Rio Hondo region, Quintana Roo, Mexico; (b) Detail of Vase K2993, Late Classic, lowland Maya area
  • Rollout photograph of the Ten Gods Vase (Vase K555)
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K3450
  • Painted scene on Vase K3450: Chahk wields his axe against a baby insect lying on the back of a bloated animal
  • An eroded vase
  • Extant designs on a vase, showing a baby insect lying on the back of a bloated animal
  • Detail of Vase K1223, Chahk wields his axe against a flying insect lying on the back of a tapir
  • Detail of Vase K1253
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K521
  • Schematization of the links of mythical belief with narrative, text, image, and performance
  • Details of the Regal Rabbit Vase (Vase K1398) before restoration
  • Panel from Lacanjá, drawing of a carved relief and detail of secondary text that narrates the birth of Ajan K'awiil
  • Panel from Lacanjá, drawing of a carved relief and detail of secondary text that narrates the birth of Ajan K'awiil (Detail)
  • Quiriguá Stela C
  • The hieroglyphic text on Quiriguá Stela C
  • Vase of the Eleven Gods (Vase K7750)
  • Vase of the Eleven Gods (Vase K7750), alternate view
  • Quiriguá Zoomorph P
  • Quiriguá Zoomorph O
  • Detail of Quiriguá Zoomorph O
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K8457
  • Rollout photograph of the Vase of the Stars
  • Tablet of the Cross
  • Drawing of the middle section of the Tablet of the Cross
  • Drawing of the Tablet of the Sun
  • Table of the Foliated Cross
  • Drawing of the Tablet of the Foliated Cross
  • Dresden Codex, p. 74
  • Rollout photograph of the Three Gods Enthroned Vase (vase K504)
  • Ceramic vase from Tikal Burial 196, detail
  • Bowl from the Naranjo area, Petén, Guatemala
  • Bowl from the Naranjo area, Petén, Guatemala (Detail)
  • Ceramic figurine from Jaina Island
  • Tohil Plumbate ceramic figurine
  • Detail of a carved frieze in the Lower Temple of the Jaguars, Chichen Itza
  • Painted plate
  • Drawing of Vase K7433
  • Rollout photograph of the Mosquito Vase
  • Detail of the tablet of the Foliated Cross
  • Incised scene on an alabaster bowl from Bonampak Building 10
  • The Bleeding Conch Vase
  • Drawing of the Bleeding Conch Vase
  • Detail of the Bleeding Conch Vase
  • Detail of the Codex Vatican
  • Detail of the Dresden Codex
  • Detail of the Dresden Codex
  • Details of the Young Goddess I in the Dresden Codex
  • Codex Magliabechiano, p. 77r
  • Codex Magliabechiano, p. 76r
  • The Birth Vase (Vase K5113), side 1
  • The Birth Vase (Vase K5113), side 2
  • The Birth Vase (Vase K5113), side 3
  • Birth Vase, sides 1–3, detail
  • Yaxchilán Lintel 13
  • Drawing of Yaxchilán Lintel 13
  • Yaxchilán Lintel 14
  • Drawing of Yaxchilán Lintel 14
  • Nahua goddesses associated with centipedes and serpents: (a) Detail of Codex Borbonicus, p. 19 (b) Detail of Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, p. 27
  • Izapa Stela 25
  • Carved relief on Izapa Stela 25
  • Replica of stucco macaw from the first constructional stage of the Copán ball court
  • Detail of a mural painting from the Conjunto del Sol, Teotihuacan
  • Detail of a mural painting from Atetelco, Teotihuacan
  • Ceramic figurine
  • Temple-shaped lid of a censer, probably from Escuintla, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Temple-shaped censer, probably from Escuintla, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Temple-shaped censer, probably from Escuintla, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Painted plate from Las Pacayas, Guatemala
  • Detail of plate from Las Pacayas
  • Stucco frieze from Toniná, detail
  • Detail of Dresden Codex, p. 40b
  • Rollout drawing of Kaminaljuyá Sculpture 110 (Altar 10), Valley of Guatemala
  • Drawing of Kaminaljuyá 100 (Stela 1), Valley of Guatemala
  • Tak'alik Ab'aj Altar 30
  • Drawing of Tak'alik Ab'aj Altar 30
  • Tak'alik Ab'aj Altar 13
  • Drawing of Tak'alik Ab'aj Altar 13
  • Detail of mural painting from the west wall of Las Pinturas Sub-1
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K1226
  • Detail of Vase K7268
  • The Headband Gods, (a) Drawing 87 from Naj Tunich cave, (b) Detail from vase K732
  • Detail of Vase K1004
  • Name tags associated with portraits of God S: (a) Detail of Vase K1004; (b) Detail of the Dresden Codex, p. 2a; (c) Detail of Vase K7821; (d) Detail of Vase K1183; (e) Detail of Vase K1202; (f) Detail of Vase K1222
  • Examples of the Ajaw royal title: (a) Detail of a plate from Tikal Burial 195; (b) Detail of Arroyo de Piedra Stela 1; (c) Detail of Piedras Negras Panel 2; (d) Detail of Yaxchilan Hieroglyphic Stairway 3, Step 5; (e) Detail of La Corona Element 56; (f) Detail of Palenque Tablet of the 96 Glyphs; (g) Detail of the Cosmic Plate
  • Examples of the Ajaw day name: (a) 4 Ajaw, Detail of Piedras Negras Altar 2, Support 3; (b) 5 Ajaw, Detail of Dos Pilas Stela 15; (c) 8 Ajaw, Detail of Palenque, Hieroglyphic Stairway
  • Detail of the Blom Plate
  • Drawing 21 from Naj Tunich cave, Guatemala
  • Central marker of the Copán Ball Court A-Iib
  • Ceramic plate, detail
  • Drawing of stingray spine sculpture from Copán
  • Vase of the Stars, detail
  • Name tags associated with portraits of God CH: (a) Detail of Vase K7821; (b) Detail of Vase K1004; (c) Detail of Plate K1892; (d) Detail of Vase K1222
  • Painted vase
  • Detail of Vase K3413
  • Detail of Vase K3413
  • Representations of the Maize God: (a) Detail of a mural painting from the north wall of Las Pinturas Sub-1, San Bartolo, Guatemala, Late Preclassic, lowland Maya area; (b) Detail of a stone disk, Early Classic, lowland Maya area; (c) Detail of a sculpture from Quiriguá Structure 1B-1, Late Classic, lowland Maya area
  • Late Classic representations of the Maize God: (a) Detail of a vase from Buena Vista, Belize; (b) Detail of the Vase of the Paddlers; (c) Detail of a vase from Calakmul, Mexico; (d) Detail of Vase K1183
  • Figurine of ruler dancing with maize
  • Ceramic figurine
  • Rollout photograph of a ceramic vase
  • Detail of Vase K6997
  • Dancers in twisted poses: (a) Detail of Kaminaljuyú Sculpture 9, Late Preclassic, Guatemala valley; (b) Detail of Bilbao Monument 21, Late Classic, Pacific coast of Guatemala; (c) Detail of Codez Vaticanus 3773, p. 52, 16th century, valley of Mexico
  • Detail of a mural painting from the north wall of Las Pinturas Sub-1
  • Graffito from Structure 5D-Sub3A
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K6979
  • Rollout photograph of Bowl K1202
  • Detail of the Death Vase (Vase K6547)
  • Detail of the Florentine Codex, book 10, f. 41v
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K7268
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K4479
  • The Lunar Maize God: (a) Detail of an incised conch shell trumpet, Late Classic, lowland Maya Area; (b) Detail of the Vase of the Stars; (c) Detail of a full-figure glyph, Copá Structure 9M-146 bench, Late Classic, lowland Maya area, AD 780 (?); (d) Detail of a sherd from Santa Rita Corozal, Belize, Late Classic
  • Carved relief on the lid of a stone box from the Hun Nal Ye cave, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
  • Detail of hieroglyphic text from Palenque Temple XIV tablet
  • The Water Lily Serpent: (a) Detail of Vase K5628; (b) Detail of the Dresden Codex, p. 13a
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K5166
  • The Maize God as a stellar being
  • Details of the Sky Band bench, Structure 8N-11
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K1183
  • Rollout photograph of the Vase of the Paddlers (Vase K3033)
  • Detail of the Vase of the Paddlers
  • Fragments fo incised bone from Burial 116
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K4358
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K6298
  • Rollout photograph of a painted vase
  • Rollout photograph of the Vase of the Small Canoes (Vase K5608)
  • Detail of the Vase of the Paddlers
  • Detail of a rollout photograph of Bowl K3115
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K1004
  • Plate K7185
  • Cosmic Plate (Plate K1609), detail
  • Detail of the Cosmic Plate (Plate K1609)
  • Plate K1892
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K731
  • Detail of a mural painting from the west wall of Las Pinturas Sub-1
  • Detail of a rollout photograph of Vase K4681
  • Detail of a Late Classic mural painting from Ek' Balam, Yucatán, Mexico
  • Painted designs on a ceramic vase
  • Rollout photograph of the Calcehtok Vase (Vase K2785)
  • Composite photograph of a vase from Finca Esquipulitas, Escuintla, Guatemala, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Cylinder tripod vase, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Molded vase, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Sherd from a vessel found at El Baúl, Cotzumalhuapa, Guatemala
  • Rollout photograph of K1605, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K4599, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
  • Rollout photograph of Vase K8829, Pacific Coast of Guatemala
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Contents
PublisherYale University Press
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Acknowledgments
PublisherYale University Press
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
To a large extent, my arguments depend on the accuracy of translations from numerous Mesoamerican languages. I employed the available editions of colonial texts and modern narratives, and whenever possible I contrasted translations of important passages. For the Popol Vuh, I used the modern English translations by Dennis Tedlock and Allen J. Christenson. Especially...
PublisherYale University Press
Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
The pale bodies of four characters—perhaps originally five—stand out against the dense, red background of a lowland Maya ceramic vase, created more than twelve centuries ago (fig. 1). Despite its age, the object preserves considerable detail, except for a section that suffered erosion and, perhaps for that reason, was not...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
The vivid, enthralling deeds of mythical characters portrayed in ancient Maya art offer glimpses of a wealth of beliefs and narratives that were known to the artists and their patrons. At the outset of his treatise on Mesoamerican mythology, López Austin wondered about the meaning of pre-Columbian images and called...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
So began Don Lucio Méndez—a resident of the Ch’orti’ community of Los Vados, in eastern Guatemala—as he told a story, recorded in the 1990s by anthropologist Julián López García. The story is not about the early life of Christ, but about Kumix, a major character...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
The words of a Ch’orti’ narrator from eastern Guatemala, recorded in the 1960s by linguist John Fought, speak about a time when the world was in darkness and describe what happened when the sun rose. Fought, “Translation of Recordings.” The story evoked a critical junction in Mesoamerican cosmogony, which...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Juan Caal’s narrative, recorded in 1909, is the earliest known version of the Q’eqchi’ sun and moon myth. It opens with a placid description of the household of Tzultaq’a, the god of the earth, who lived with his daughter Po (“moon”), a dedicated weaver. Kockelman “Meaning and...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
In the words of Antonia Soben, a modern K’iche’ midwife from Santa Clara La Laguna—a town in the Lake Atitlán region of western Guatemala—the traditional sweat bath is more than a hygienic and curing facility. The sweat bath is Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, the mythical grandmother...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Writing in the early seventeenth century, the Franciscan friar Bernardo de Lizana recalled K’inich K’ak’ Mo’, “an idol with the figure of the sun” that received cult in a major temple at Izamal, Yucatán. People flocked there at times of plague and death by sickness or hunger....
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
In 1960, ethnographer Marcelo Díaz de Salas compiled an account of the origin of the sun in the Tzotzil town of Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas (formerly San Bartolomé de los Llanos). The story was about a little boy who lived with his mother. The world was dark and the elders were sitting around the fire, but were not brave enough to throw themselves into it. The boy told his mother...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Rather than salvation in the afterlife, Jesus’s sacrifice brought about human sustenance on earth, as understood by Don Nito, a ritual specialist (zajorín) from the Ch’orti’ hamlet of Tunucó...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
This was how people learned to die. Before, people died for three days only and then came back to life. Guiteras Holmes, Perils of the Soul, 187–88. Thus Manuel Arias Sojom explained the meaning of a key episode in Mesoamerican myths, versions of which had been compiled since the sixteenth century. This is often the...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
In the Popol Vuh, the Hero Twins’ epic resulted in the rise of the sun and the moon, the discovery of maize, and the gods’ successful creation of men and women. Their ordeal provided answers to the questions posed by the creator gods: “How should the sowing be, and...
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Bibliography
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Illustration Credits
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Description: Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
Index
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Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya
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