A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture
Author: Andrea Joyce Stone
Presented here for the first time is a compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are also building blocks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Organized thematically, the symbols touch on many facets of the Maya world, from the natural environment animals, plants, the heavens to the metaphysical landscape of gods, myths and rituals. Using over five hundred line drawings and photographs, Andrea Stone and Marc Zender show how to identify these signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. In addition to providing a clear and accessible introduction to Maya art, linguistics and writing, the authors also offer many new and exciting interpretations. Lavishly illustrated, fully cross-referenced and indexed, this remarkable and innovative guide will prove an invaluable tool for those wishing to see Maya art, perhaps for the first time, through the eyes of ancient scribes and artists.
This nuanced account explores Maya mythology through the lens of art, text, and culture. It offers an important reexamination of the mid-16th-century Popol Vuh, long considered an authoritative text, which is better understood as one among many crucial sources for the interpretation of ancient Maya art and myth. Using materials gathered across Mesoamerica, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos bridges the gap between written texts and artistic representations, identifying key mythical subjects and uncovering their variations in narratives and visual depictions. Central characters--including a secluded young goddess, a malevolent grandmother, a dead father, and the young gods who became the sun and the moon--are identified in pottery, sculpture, mural painting, and hieroglyphic inscriptions. Highlighting such previously overlooked topics as sexuality and generational struggles, this beautifully illustrated book paves the way for a new understanding of Maya myths and their lavish expression in ancient art.
In Maya Narrative Arts, authors Karen Bassie-Sweet and Nicholas A. Hopkins present a comprehensive and innovative analysis of the principles of Classic Maya narrative arts and apply those principles to some of the major monuments of the site of Palenque. They demonstrate a recent methodological shift in the examination of art and inscriptions away from minute technical issues and toward the poetics and narratives of texts and the relationship between texts and images. Bassie-Sweet and Hopkins show that both visual and verbal media present carefully planned narratives, and that the two are intimately related in the composition of Classic Maya monuments. Text and image interaction is discussed through examples of stelae, wall panels, lintels, benches, and miscellaneous artifacts including ceramic vessels and codices. Bassie-Sweet and Hopkins consider the principles of contrast and complementarity that underlie narrative structures and place this study in the context of earlier work, proposing a new paradigm for Maya epigraphy. They also address the narrative organization of texts and images as manifested in selected hieroglyphic inscriptions and the accompanying illustrations, stressing the interplay between the two. Arguing for a more holistic approach to Classic Maya art and literature, Maya Narrative Arts reveals how close observation and reading can be equally if not more productive than theoretical discussions, which too often stray from the very data that they attempt to elucidate. The book will be significant for Mesoamerican art historians, epigraphers, linguists, and archaeologists.
From the tombs of the elite to the graves of commoners, mortuary remains offer rich insights into Classic Maya society. In Mortuary Landscapes of the Classic Maya: Rituals of Body and Soul, the anthropological archaeologist and bioarchaeologist Andrew K. Scherer explores the broad range of burial practices among the Maya of the Classic period (AD 250–900), integrating information gleaned from his own fieldwork with insights from the fields of iconography, epigraphy, and ethnography to illuminate this society’s rich funerary traditions. Scherer’s study of burials along the Usumacinta River at the Mexican-Guatemalan border and in the Central Petén region of Guatemala—areas that include Piedras Negras, El Kinel, Tecolote, El Zotz, and Yaxha—reveals commonalities and differences among royal, elite, and commoner mortuary practices. By analyzing skeletons containing dental and cranial modifications, as well as the adornments of interred bodies, Scherer probes Classic Maya conceptions of body, wellness, and the afterlife. Scherer also moves beyond the body to look at the spatial orientation of the burials and their integration into the architecture of Maya communities. Taking a unique interdisciplinary approach, the author examines how Classic Maya deathways can expand our understanding of this society’s beliefs and traditions, making Mortuary Landscapes of the Classic Maya an important step forward in Mesoamerican archeology.
Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on the Northern Lowlands
Author: Justine M. Shaw
Publisher: UNM Press
This book, the first major collection of data from the Cochuah region investigations, presents and analyzes findings on more than eighty sites and puts them in the context of the findings of other investigations from outside the area.
Illustrated descriptions, explanations, and appraisals of accessible Mayan ceremonial centers in Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras, setting each of the twenty-four sites in its historical, cultural, and architectural context
"General overview of the ancient Maya begins with summary discussions of the history of Maya studies, the environment and geography of the Maya world, and the European invasion. Text is devoted primarily to a synthesis of the history of Maya cultural traditions based primarily on archaeological data and complemented by epigraphic and ethnohistorical information"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.