Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Figures

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pp. vii-ix

Tables

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pp. xi-xi

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Foreword

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pp. xiii-xv

People see and interact with the world based on their knowledge, ideas, and beliefs—their worldview. A worldview translates the world into an understandable model that explains why things are as they are, what is true and what is false, what one should do or not do, and how things can be achieved. It also includes ideas and beliefs about the...

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xviii

Most chapters of this volume emerged from papers presented in the session Maya Worldview at Conquest at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Montreal. Like many session organizers, Leslie Cecil and I had an axe to grind. Many conference papers, books, and journal articles posit that meaning is irrelevant and one should instead examine only practice. The essays of this volume...

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-15

As a result of research into Postclassic and Colonial Maya cultures, the Maya area on the eve of Spanish contact/conquest can be described as a series of dynamic socio-political alliances and dominance relations, changing religious cults, long-distance exchange, and migrations throughout the area rather than a region of “decline, decadence, and depopulation” (A. Chase and D. Chase 1985:4). This holds true...

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Chapter 2: Close Encounters

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pp. 16-38

The contributions to this volume present a range of insights into Maya worldviews, from native engagement with history to time, cosmology, and creation. For the Late Postclassic and Colonial periods, varieties of expression are described from cave art to architecture and from ritual paths to dancing. My broad goal is articulated by Don Rice (1989:4), who reminds us that what is lacking in archaeological...

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Chapter 3: “In Recalling Things Past, I Strengthen My Heart”: Accommodating the Past in Early Colonial Yucatán

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pp. 39-59

Memory—the specifics of name, place, time, and deed—is critical to the establishment of self and community, and it is thus not surprising that each of these aspects was systematically subverted by Spanish colonial policy. Most infamous are the auto de fé ’s, which attempted to root out the religious underpinnings of collective identity, and...

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Chapter 4: Time, History, and Worldview

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pp. 60-82

The concept of time—perhaps better, for present purposes, writ large as Time—is a complex abstraction related to Western scholarly notions such as history, worldview, cosmology, ideology, and spatiality, among other things. Michael Kearney (1984:94–106), in his treatise on worldview, identified time as one of its universal components. But such universality does not extend to content: concepts of time...

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Chapter 5: Cosmology and Creation in Late Postclassic Maya Literature and Art

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pp. 83-110

The focus of this chapter is on creation stories recorded in Late Postclassic Maya painted media, including screenfold books (codices) and murals, believed to date from the mid-fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries and to have been painted in the northern Maya area where Yucatec Maya was spoken (Vail 2006; Vail and Aveni 2004a)...

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Chapter 6: Colonial Cave Art in the Northern Maya Lowlands: The Dark Side of the Maya Worldview after the Conquest

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pp. 111-133

Prior to the publication of my book, in 1995, Images from the Underworld, little was known about Maya cave art apart from Strecker’s work of the 1970s and 1980s in the Puuc area (see bibliography in Strecker and Künne 2003) and J. Eric S. Thompson’s (1975) reference to several cave art sites in Chiapas. What has emerged is a clearer picture of the Maya’s cave art legacy, which is among the richest in the...

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Chapter 7: De Descriptio Idolorum: An Ethnohistorical Examination of the Production, Imagery, and Functions of Colonial Yucatec Maya Idols and Effigy Censers, 1540–1700

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pp. 135-158

On April 2, 1674, in the Maya town of Sital, an ecclesiastical judge, Don Joseph Montalvo y Vera summoned Maya prisoner Antonio Chable before him and through the interpreter Pedro Martin, he began to interrogate him concerning a ritual he had been caught conducting several days before...

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Chapter 8: Mesoamerican Communicating Objects: Mayan Worldviews Before, During, and After Spanish Contact

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pp. 160-182

Precolumbian Mesoamericans understood their world within much different worldviews than do Western Europeans and Euro-Americans. In this chapter, concentrating on politico-religious communicating objects, I suggest that although the Western scientific notion of separating the natural and supernatural worlds applies in our worldviews, such a dichotomy distorts Native American cosmologies. I further...

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Chapter 9: Clash of Worldviews in Late Mayap

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pp. 184-204

Mayap

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Chapter 10: Religious Resistance and Persistence on Cozumel Island

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pp. 205-217

From the first contact, Spanish explorers compared Maya pilgrimage to Cozumel as similar to what drew pilgrims to Jerusalem, Mecca, and Rome (Tozzer 1941). These ritual procession routes and their end points, oracular shrines, acted as conduits for trade, social and political interaction, and flow of pan-Mesoamerican beliefs and traditions. ...

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Chapter 11: Changes in Maya Religious Worldview: Liminality and the Archaeological Record

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pp. 219-237

By focusing on Maya ritual symbolism found in the iconography and archaeology of the pre-contact New World, it is possible to isolate elements that significantly changed following the advent of the Spaniards. Among the aspects of Maya religion to be modified following contact were several key components of Maya worldviews—specifically, the...

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Chapter 12: Kowoj Worldview: A View from Tipu

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pp. 239-260

Tipu is the easternmost Postclassic archaeological site associated with the central Pet

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Chapter 13: Agency and Worldviews of the Unconquered Lacandon Maya

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pp. 261-278

Explorers trekking through the rainforests of the southern Maya lowlands during the Colonial and Republican periods encountered large numbers of Maya who they described as unconquered, non-Christian people. Many of these Maya were Lacandon,1 who lived in scattered settlements throughout lowland eastern Chiapas, M

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Chapter 14: Music Syncretism in the Postclassic K’iche’ Warrior Dance and the Colonial Period Baile de los Moros y Cristianos

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pp. 279-297

Having knowledge of a Precolumbian Maya cultural aesthetic of music would be valuable in revealing socially agreed-upon favored sounds and in helping fill in the blanks of a pre-conquest Maya gestalt. But as with the musics of most vanished cultures (the Harappan and Natchez come to mind), the music of the prehispanic Maya has proved elusive to modern ears. Luckily, the syncretism of Maya and...

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Chapter 15: Footpath of the Dawn, Footpath of the Sun: Maya Worldviews at Lake Atitl

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pp. 299-315

Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán is a place of extraordinary beauty. The “umbilicus of the world,” as it is traditionally called by local Maya inhabitants, was praised by Aldous Huxley (1934:128) as being like Italy’s Lake Como with the “additional embellishment of several immense volcanoes” and by the noted nineteenth-century traveler and writer John Lloyd Stephens (1969 [1854]:158) as being “the most magnificent...

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Chapter 16: Maya Sacred Landscapes at Contact

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pp. 317-334

The Maya derived some of their most powerful and sacred symbols from the natural world. Plants, animals, and topographic features, such as caves, mountains, and water sources, found prominent roles in the sacred landscape. Many aspects of the built environment sig-nified natural elements—for example, temple platforms represented ...

References Cited

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pp. 335-405

Contributors

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pp. 407-411

Index

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pp. 413-426