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"Between AD 650 and 950, a small city-state in central Mexico produced dazzling murals of gods, historical figures, and supernatural creatures on the walls of its most important sacred and public spaces. This study explores how the Cacaxtla murals constitute a sustained and local painting tradition, in which generations of ancient Mexican artists, patrons, and audiences created a powerful statement of communal identity that still captures the imagination"--
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.
This pioneering and comprehensive survey is the first overview of current themes in Latin American archaeology written solely by academics native to the region, and it makes their collected expertise available to an English-speaking audience for the first time. The contributors cover the most significant issues in the archaeology of Latin America, such as the domestication of camelids, the emergence of urban society in Mesoamerica, the frontier of the Inca empire, and the relatively little known archaeology of the Amazon basin. This book draws together key areas of research in Latin American archaeological thought into a coherent whole; no other volume on this area has ever dealt with such a diverse range of subjects, and some of the countries examined have never before been the subject of a regional study.
Located within the deep tropical rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico, the Maya site of Bonampak is home to the most complete and magnificent mural program of the ancient Americas. In three rooms, a pageant of rulership opens up, scene by scene, like pages of an ancient Maya book. Painted c. AD 800, the murals of Bonampak reveal a complex and multifaceted view of the ancient Maya at the end of their splendor during the last days of the Classic era. Members of the royal court engage in rituals and perform human sacrifice, dance in extravagant costumes and strip the clothing from fallen captives, acknowledge foreign nobles, and receive abundant tribute. The murals are a powerful and sophisticated reflection on the spectacle of courtly life and the nature of artistic practice, a window onto a world that could not know its doomed future. This major new study of the paintings of Bonampak incorporates insights from decades of art historical, epigraphic, and technical investigation of the murals, framing questions about artistic conception, facture, narrative, performance, and politics. Lavishly illustrated, this book assembles thorough documentation of the Bonampak mural program, from historical photographs of the paintings—some never before published—to new full-color reconstructions by artist Heather Hurst, recipient of a MacArthur award, and Leonard Ashby. The book also includes a catalog of photographs, infrared images, and line drawings of the murals, as well as images of all the glyphic texts, which are published in their entirety for the first time. Written in an engaging style that invites both specialists and general readers alike, this book will stand as the definitive presentation of the paintings for years to come.
Debunks the myth of a free press in Latin America.
This collection of essays, curriculum units, and study guides on Latin American art and musical traditions is designed to help interested teachers take a comprehensive approach to teaching these subjects. The introduction features the essay, "Media Resources Available on Latin American Culture: A Survey of Art, Architecture, and Music Articles Appearing in Americas" (K. Murray). Section 1, The Visual Arts of Latin America, has the following articles: "The Latin American Box: Environmental Aesthetics in the Classroom" (R. Robkin); "Mascaras y Danzas de Mexico y Guatemala" (J. Winzinger); "The Five Creations and Four Destructions of the Aztec World" (C. Simmons; R. Gaytan); "Art Forms of Quetzalcoatl: A Teaching Guide for Spanish, History, and Art Classes" (A. P. Crick); "The Art and Architecture of Mesoamerica: An Overview" (J. Quirarte); "Interpreting the Aztec Calendar" (L. Hall); "Mexican Muralism: Its Social-Educative Roles in Latin America and the United States" (S. Goldman); "Mexico: An Artist's History" (K. Jones); "A Historical Survey of Chicano Murals in the Southwest" (A. Rodriguez); and "El Dia de los Muertos" (C. Hickman). Section 2, The Musical Heritage of Latin America, has an introduction: "The Study of Latin American Folk Music and the Classroom" (G. Behague) and the following articles: "Value Clarification of the Chicano Culture through Music and Dance" (R. R. de Guerrero); "'La Bamba': Reflections of Many People" (J. Taylor); "The Latin American Art Music Tradition: Some Criteria for Selection of Teaching Materials" (M. Kuss); "Mariachi Guide" (B. San Miguel); "'El Tamborito': The Panamanian Musical Heritage" (N. Samuda); "A Journey through the History of Music in Latin America" (J. Orrego-Salas); "A Multicultural Tapestry for Young People" (V. Gachen); and "A Survey of Mexican Popular Music" (A. Krohn). A list of Education Service Centers in Texas is in the appendix. (DB)
In communities throughout precontact Mesoamerica, calendar priests and diviners relied on pictographic almanacs to predict the fate of newborns, to guide people in choosing marriage partners and auspicious wedding dates, to know when to plant and harvest crops, and to be successful in many of life's activities. As the Spanish colonized Mesoamerica in the sixteenth century, they made a determined effort to destroy these books, in which the Aztec and neighboring peoples recorded their understanding of the invisible world of the sacred calendar and the cosmic forces and supernaturals that adhered to time. Today, only a few of these divinatory codices survive. Visually complex, esoteric, and strikingly beautiful, painted books such as the famous Codex Borgia and Codex Borbonicus still serve as portals into the ancient Mexican calendrical systems and the cycles of time and meaning they encode. In this comprehensive study, Elizabeth Hill Boone analyzes the entire extant corpus of Mexican divinatory codices and offers a masterful explanation of the genre as a whole. She introduces the sacred, divinatory calendar and the calendar priests and diviners who owned and used the books. Boone then explains the graphic vocabulary of the calendar and its prophetic forces and describes the organizing principles that structure the codices. She shows how they form almanacs that either offer general purpose guidance or focus topically on specific aspects of life, such as birth, marriage, agriculture and rain, travel, and the forces of the planet Venus. Boone also tackles two major areas of controversy—the great narrative passage in the Codex Borgia, which she freshly interprets as a cosmic narrative of creation, and the disputed origins of the codices, which, she argues, grew out of a single religious and divinatory system.

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