Maya Narrative Arts

Maya Narrative Arts

by Karen Bassie-Sweet, Nicholas A. Hopkins


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607328216
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Publication date: 01/21/2019
Edition description: 1
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karen Bassie-Sweet is adjunct lecturer at the University of Calgary. She is author or coauthor of several previous books and has received research grants from National Geographic Society and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Inc.
Nicholas A. Hopkins spent almost thirty years in the field researching the languages in Mesoamerica and has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa (Mexico City), and Florida State University. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Inc., among others, and has been published in several journals and edited volumes.

Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 3

Paradigms in the Study of Maya Hieroglyphs, Past and Present 5

Toward a New Paradigm 9

Contrast and Complementarity in Language 10

Contrast and Complementarity in Mythology 14

Contrast and Complementarity between Text and Image 18

The Composition of a Classic-Period Monument 19

The Organization of Tins Book 23

Chapter 1 The Creator Grandparents and the Place of Duality 27

The Nomenclature and Manifestations of Maya Deities 28

The Multiple Manifestations of Deities and Humans 29

The Chahk Deities 30

The Triad of Thunderbolt Gods 30

The Thunderbolt Deity GI 32

The Thunderbolt Deity GIII 34

The Thunderbolt Deity GII 35

K'awiil 37

The Meteor Deity Tlaloc 37

Avian Avatars 38

The Creator Grandparents and Complementary Opposition 38

The Waters of the Place of Duality 40

The Waterlily Bird-Serpent and the Waters of the Place of Duality 45

Water Shrines 48

The Sky 50

The Quadrilateral World of the Creator Deities 51

House Metaphors 53

The Hearthstones 54

Heat 55

The Place of Duality in the Sky 56

The Sun and the Place of Duality 59

The Sun God 59

The K'inich and K'inich Ajaw Titles 61

The Number Four God 62

Flower Motifs and the Place of Duality 63

Sky and Earth Gods as a Class of Deities 66

Summary 67

Chapter 2 The Family of the Creator Grandparents and Complementary Opposition 68

The Second Generation of Creator Deities 68

The Third Generation of Creator Deities 73

The Wisdom and Knowledge of the Creator Deities 75

The Complementary Opposition of the Deities 77

The Moon and Complementary Opposition 82

Impersonations of One Moon and Lady Moon 86

Summary 87

Chapter 3 The Calendar and the Narrative Time Frame 89

The Divination and Solar Calendars 90

The Long Count 92

The Glyph G Series 94

The Lunar Series 94

Patron Gods of the K'atun Period 95

The Mythological Period Ending Event of 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk'u 98

Periods of 900 Days 99

The Narrative Time Frame 100

Variation 101

Summary 107

Chapter 4 The Literary Nature of Mayan Texts, Ancient and Modern 109

Categories of Speech 111

Poetry in a Modern Maya Text 114

Narrative Structure of Modern Texts 115

The Sarcophagus Lid Text of the Palenque Temple of the Inscriptions 118

The Palenque Palace Tablet of House A-D 125

Distance Number Treatment 133

Topical Divisions of the Text 134

Distance Number Introductory Glyphs 135

Elaboration and Relative Weight 137

Summary 138

Chapter 5 Text and Image 142

Semantic Markers in Maya Art 142

Text and Image Interchange in Headdress Motifs 146

Text and Image Interchange in Place Names 148

Text and Image Placement: Framing and Bracketing 151

Visual Focus 159

Verbal Couplets 161

Visual Couplets 163

The Poetic Structure of Co-Essences Vessels 166

Other Forms of Visual Couplets 169

Chiasmus Structure 169

Text and Image Couplets 171

Sequential Couplets on the Palenque Temple XIX Platform 176

The Couplet Structure of the Palenque Temple XXI Bench 178

Reversed Texts as Chiasmus Structure 183

Summary 190

Chapter 6 The Palenque Tablet of the 96 Glyphs 193

The Historical Background of the Protagonist 193

The Setting of the Monument 194

The Tablet of the 96 Glyphs Narrative 195

The Protagonist 200

Literary De-vices: Focus 200

Literary Devices: Fronting and Promotion 201

Visual Variations 202

Summary 203

Chapter 7 The Narrative of the Palenque Temple of the Inscriptions Sarcophagus 206

The Setting 206

The Tomb 208

The Sarcophagus Lid Scene 209

The Sarcophagus Lid Text 213

Two Alternative Analyses 215

The Sarcophagus Box 216

The Secondary Lords of the Sarcophagus Lid 220

The Death and Afterlife of K'inich Janaab Pakal I 221

Summary 225

Chapter 8 The Palenque Cross Group Narrative 228

The Setting 228

Peripheral Crass Group Texts 230

The Alfardas 232

Toe Sanctuary Jambs 235

The Sanctuary Piers 236

The Sanctuary Tablets 238

The Tablet of the Cross 238

The Main Text of the Tablet of the Cross 242

The Main Texts of the Temples of the Sun and Foliated Cross 244

The Reading Order of the Three Cross Group Tablets 247

The Place Names in the Cross Group Narrative 249

The Location of the Tablet of the Cross Scene 250

The Location of the Tablet of the Sun Scene 255

The Location of the Tablet of the Foliated Cross Scene 259

GII and the Jester God 263

Summary 264

Chapter 9 Conclusions 269

References 275

Index 301

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