Parution : The myths of the Popol vuh in cosmology, art, and ritual


  • Moyes, Holley
  • Christenson, Allen J.
  • Sachse, Frauke

Holley Moyes is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Merced, and author of Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves, a Choice Outstanding Academic Title selection.

Allen J. Christenson is professor of Precolumbian studies at Brigham Young University and the author of Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community, a two-volume critical edition of the Popol Vuh, and The Burden of the Ancients.

Frauke Sachse is program director of Precolumbian Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection and coauthor of Maya Daykeeping: Three Calendars from Highland Guatemala.

Résumé de l’éditeur

This volume offers an integrated and comparative approach to the Popol Vuh, analyzing its myths to elucidate the ancient Maya past while using multiple lines of evidence to shed light on the text. Combining interpretations of the myths with analyses of archaeological, iconographic, epigraphic, ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and literary resources, this work demonstrates how Popol Vuh mythologies contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the ancient Maya past.

The chapters are grouped into four sections. The first section interprets the Highland Maya worldview through examination of the text, analyzing interdependence between deities and human beings as well as the textual and cosmological coherence of the Popol Vuh as a source. The second section analyzes the Precolumbian Maya archaeological record as it relates to the myths of the Popol Vuh, providing new interpretations of the use of space, architecture, burials, artifacts, and human remains found in Classic Maya caves. The third explores ancient Maya iconographic motifs, including those found in Classic Maya ceramic art; the nature of predatory birds; and the Hero Twins’ deeds in the Popol Vuh. The final chapters address mythological continuities and change, reexamining past methodological approaches using the Popol Vuh as a resource for the interpretation of Classic Maya iconography and ancient Maya religion and mythology, connecting the myths of the Popol Vuh to iconography from Preclassic Izapa, and demonstrating how narratives from the Popol Vuh can illuminate mythologies from other parts of Mesoamerica.

The Myths of the Popol Vuh in Cosmology, Art, and Ritual is the first volume to bring together multiple perspectives and original interpretations of the Popol Vuh myths. It will be of interest not only to Mesoamericanists but also to art historians, archaeologists, ethnohistorians, iconographers, linguists, anthropologists, and scholars working in ritual studies, the history of religion, historic and Precolumbian literature and historic linguistics.

Contributors: Jaime J. Awe, Karen Bassie-Sweet, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Michael D. Coe, Iyaxel Cojtí Ren, Héctor Escobedo, Thomas H. Guderjan, Julia Guernsey, Christophe Helmke, Nicholas A. Hopkins, Barbara MacLeod, Jesper Nielsen, Colin Snider, Karl A. Taube


  • Introduction : the Popol vuh as a window into the mind of the ancient Maya / Allen J.Christenson and Frauke Sachse —
  • “For it is with words that we are sustained” : the Popol vuh and the creation of the First People / Allen J. Christenson —
  • Metaphors of maize : otherworld conceptualizations and the cultural logic of human existence in the Popol Vuh / Frauke Sachse —
  • The saqarik (dawn) and foundation rituals among the ancient K’iche’ people / Iyaxel Cojtí Ren —
  • Archaeological evidence for the preclassic origins of the Maya creation story and the resurrection of the Maize God at Cahal Pech, Belize / Jaime J. Awe —
  • The dynamics of dynasty, power and creation myths embedded in architecture : a case study from Blue Creek, Belize / Thomas H. Guderjan and Colin Snide —
  • Sacrifice of the Maize God : re-creating creation in the main chamber of Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize / Holley Moyes and Jaime J. Awe —
  • The transmutation of sustenance : a narrative of perennial reciprocity on classic Maya codex style ceramics / Barbara MacLeod —
  • Predatory birds of the Popol vuh / Karen Bassie-Sweet and Nicholas A. Hopkins —
  • The solar and lunar heroes in classic Maya art / Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariego —
  • Beyond the “myth or politics” debate : reconsidering late preclassic sculpture, the principal bird deity, and the Popol vuh / Julia Guernsey —
  • Blowgunners and the great bird at Teotihuacan : Mesoamerican myths in a comparative perspective / Jesper Nielsen, Karl Taube, Christophe Helmke and Héctor Escobed.

Informations pratiques

  • Editeur : Louisville, Colorado : University Press of Colorado
  • Date de parution : [2021]
  • Description matérielle : 1 vol. (XVIII, 330 p.) : ill., cartes ; 23 cm
  • ISBN 978-1-60732-338-9 (rel.) . – ISBN 978-1-64642-198-5 (br.). – ISBN: 978-1-64642-199-2 (ebook)


Citer ce billet
Olivier Jacquot (2023, 2 janvier). Parution : The myths of the Popol vuh in cosmology, art, and ritual. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 30 mai 2024, à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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