Renewing the Maya World
Expressive Culture in a Highland Town
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Narratives
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I began research in Santiago Momostenango, Guatemala, in January 1974. From January through May, I conducted a survey of agricultural practices sponsored by the Agency for International Development and directed by Dr. Robert M. Carmack. During this time I developed basic fluency in Spanish, began to study the Quiche´ language, and observed...
Chapter 1. Introduction
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The bus clanks and grinds down from the cold and barren finger of alpine prairie above San Francisco El Alto, a mountain fastness, a juyup, where flowering bunchgrass is collected each year to construct the body of San Simón during Holy Week. The rutted dirt road winds down through a misty forest of giant pines and ancient twisted oaks...
PART 1. THE INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT
Chapter 2. Religious Sodalities of Momostenango: The Communal Cult Institutions
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How would the missionary priests and Maya catechists organizing Catholic Action in the western highlands in the 1970s have reacted to this statement? The main preoccupation of the cofradías in Chichicastenango was the propitiation of their ancestors and the cofrades who had come before them (Bunzel 1952: 249; Schultze Jena 1954: 38),...
Chapter 3. Traveling Saints
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The colonial Cristos in the calvario, together with Santiago and the Niño San Antonio in the church, are the most miraculous images in Momostenango. Only Santiago and San Antonio are transported to festivals in rural hamlets. These sacred journeys return them to their colonial period homes, or to the temporary keeping of the descendants of corporate...
PART 2. THE RITUAL SYMBOLS AND THEIR MEANINGS
Chapter 4. Cosmogonic Tree Raisings and Sunrises
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At least three distinctive cosmogonies are enacted in the communalistic rituals of the sodalities. Two are presented in this chapter. In one, featured in the Monkeys Dance, a central tree is raised and a four-cornered world is laid out around it. In another, the world is transformed by conflict between liminal beings of an earlier creation and an emerging sun. This...
Chapter 5. Secrets and Ordeals of Holy Week
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The Costumbrista celebration of Holy Week takes place against a colorful backdrop of factional displays. There are little services in the Protestant churches, huge masses and processions with hundreds of participants organized by Catholic Action, and crepe-draped and floodlit evening processions by Ladino and acculturated Maya hermandades accompanied...
Chapter 6. Continuity in the Quichean Expressive Culture Tradition
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In the 1970s and early 1980s ethnographers and ethnohistorians reconstructed the intellectual foundation for investigating continuity in Maya culture. The new perspective, given seminal expression by Eva Hunt (1977) and Victoria Bricker (1981), argued that "deep generative principles, which are essentially metaphysical premises, underlie an extraordinary array...
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Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 22 photos, 1 figure, 3 maps, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2000