Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya (Hardcover)
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.
About the Author
Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos is associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University.
“Impressively comprehensive in scope. . . . Revealing a rich and varied knowledge tradition, Art and Myth of the Ancient Maya is written in a manner that is accessible to undergraduates, and it should be read by every student of Mesoamerica.”— Patricia A. McAnany, American Antiquity
“This is an important book which will have a lasting influence on Mesoamerican scholarship and serve as a model for generations to come. It is a compelling study that will open up new areas for investigation of Maya art and new methods for research.”—Claudia Brittenham, University of Chicago
“Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos has crafted a provocative book that addresses key aspects of Maya mythology, its narratives, variations, and relationships to other mythic traditions across Mesoamerica. It is an important book, both for its content and its methodological approach, which is novel and timely.”—Julia Guernsey, University of Texas at Austin