The Ancient Maya

Author: Sylvanus Griswold Morley
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804721301
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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"Comprehensive synthesis of ancient Maya scholarship. Extensive summary of the archaeology of the Maya world provides the historical context for a detailed topical synthesis of chronological and geographic variability within the Maya cultural tradition"--

Yaxchilan

Author: Carolyn E. Tate
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 0292739125
Format: PDF, ePub
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As archaeologists peel away the jungle covering that has both obscured and preserved the ancient Maya cities of Mexico and Central America, other scholars have only a limited time to study and understand the sites before the jungle, weather, and human encroachment efface them again, perhaps forever. This urgency underlies Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, Carolyn Tate's comprehensive catalog and analysis of all the city's extant buildings and sculptures. During a year of field work, Tate fully documented the appearance of the site as of 1987. For each sculpture and building, she records its discovery, present location, condition, measurements, and astronomical orientation and reconstructs its Long Counts and Julian dates from Calendar Rounds. Line drawings and photographs provide a visual document of the art and architecture of Yaxchilan. More than mere documentation, however, the book explores the phenomenon of art within Maya society. Tate establishes a general framework of cultural practices, spiritual beliefs, and knowledge likely to have been shared by eighth-century Maya people. The process of making public art is considered in relation to other modes of aesthetic expression, such as oral tradition and ritual. This kind of analysis is new in Maya studies and offers fresh insight into the function of these magnificent cities and the powerful role public art and architecture play in establishing cultural norms, in education in a semiliterate society, and in developing the personal and community identities of individuals. Several chapters cover the specifics of art and iconography at Yaxchilan as a basis for examining the creation of the city in the Late Classic period. Individual sculptures are attributed to the hands of single artists and workshops, thus aiding in dating several of the monuments. The significance of headdresses, backracks, and other costume elements seen on monuments is tied to specific rituals and fashions, and influence from other sites is traced. These analyses lead to a history of the design of the city under the reigns of Shield Jaguar (A.D. 681-741) and Bird Jaguar IV (A.D. 752-772). In Tate's view, Yaxchilan and other Maya cities were designed as both a theater for ritual activities and a nexus of public art and social structures that were crucial in defining the self within Maya society.

War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica

Author: Ross Hassig
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520077342
Format: PDF, Docs
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In this study of warfare in ancient Mesoamerica, Ross Hassig offers new insight into three thousand years of Mesoamerican history, from roughly 1500 B.C. to the Spanish conquest. He examines the methods, purposes, and values of warfare as practiced by the major pre-Columbian societies and shows how warfare affected the rise of the state.

The Memory of Bones

Author: Stephen Houston
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 0292756186
Format: PDF, Mobi
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All of human experience flows from bodies that feel, express emotion, and think about what such experiences mean. But is it possible for us, embodied as we are in a particular time and place, to know how people of long ago thought about the body and its experiences? In this groundbreaking book, three leading experts on the Classic Maya (ca. AD 250 to 850) marshal a vast array of evidence from Maya iconography and hieroglyphic writing, as well as archaeological findings, to argue that the Classic Maya developed a coherent approach to the human body that we can recover and understand today. The authors open with a cartography of the Maya body, its parts and their meanings, as depicted in imagery and texts. They go on to explore such issues as how the body was replicated in portraiture; how it experienced the world through ingestion, the senses, and the emotions; how the body experienced war and sacrifice and the pain and sexuality that were intimately bound up in these domains; how words, often heaven-sent, could be embodied; and how bodies could be blurred through spirit possession. From these investigations, the authors convincingly demonstrate that the Maya conceptualized the body in varying roles, as a metaphor of time, as a gendered, sexualized being, in distinct stages of life, as an instrument of honor and dishonor, as a vehicle for communication and consumption, as an exemplification of beauty and ugliness, and as a dancer and song-maker. Their findings open a new avenue for empathetically understanding the ancient Maya as living human beings who experienced the world as we do, through the body.

The Gifted Passage

Author: Stephen Houston
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300228961
Format: PDF
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In this thought-provoking book, preeminent scholar Stephen Houston turns his attention to the crucial role of young males in Classic Maya society, drawing on evidence from art, writing, and material culture. The Gifted Passage establishes that adolescent men in Maya art were the subjects and makers of hieroglyphics, painted ceramics, and murals, in works that helped to shape and reflect masculinity in Maya civilization. The political volatility of the Classic Maya period gave male adolescents valuable status as potential heirs, and many of the most precious surviving ceramics likely celebrated their coming-of-age rituals. The ardent hope was that youths would grow into effective kings and noblemen, capable of leadership in battle and service in royal courts. Aiming to shift mainstream conceptions of the Maya, Houston argues that adolescent men were not simply present in images and texts, but central to both.

The Maya Calendar

Author: Weldon Lamb
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 080615778X
Format: PDF, Docs
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By 1,800 years ago, speakers of proto-Ch’olan, the ancestor of three present-day Maya languages, had developed a calendar of eighteen twenty-day months plus a set of five days for a total of 365 days. This original Maya calendar, used extensively during the Classic period (200–900 CE), recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions the dates of dynastic and cosmological importance. Over time, and especially after the Mayas’ contact with Europeans, the month names that had originated with these inscriptions developed into fourteen distinct traditions, each connected to a different ethnic group. Today, the glyphs encompass 250 standard forms, variants, and alternates, with about 570 meanings among all the cognates, synonyms, and homonyms. In The Maya Calendar, Weldon Lamb collects, defines, and correlates the month names in every recorded Maya calendrical tradition from the first hieroglyphic inscriptions to the present—an undertaking critical to unlocking and understanding the iconography and cosmology of the ancient Maya world. Mining data from astronomy, ethnography, linguistics, and epigraphy, and working from early and modern dictionaries of the Maya languages, Lamb pieces together accurate definitions of the month names in order to compare them across time and tradition. His exhaustive process reveals unsuspected parallels. Three-fourths of the month names, he shows, still derive from those of the original hieroglyphic inscriptions. Lamb also traces the relationship between month names as cognates, synonyms, or homonyms, and then reconstructs each name’s history of development, connecting the Maya month names in several calendars to ancient texts and archaeological finds. In this landmark study, Lamb’s investigations afford new insight into the agricultural, astronomical, ritual, and even political motivations behind names and dates in the Maya calendar. A history of descent and diffusion, of unexpected connectedness and longevity, The Maya Calendar offers readers a deep understanding of a foundational aspect of Maya culture.

Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions

Author: Ian Graham
Publisher: Peabody Museum of Archaeology &
ISBN: 9780873657730
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This is the fourth of five anticipated volumes on the Classic Maya monuments of Tonina, which lies east of the town of Ocosingo in Chiapas, Mexico. The volume describes and illustrates thirty-six sequentially numbered sculptures, representing most of the remaining unpublished and largely intact sculptures at the site.