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The Life Within
Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence

Stephen Houston

For the Classic Maya, who flourished in and around the Yucatan peninsula in the first millennium AD, artistic materials were endowed with an internal life. Far from being inert substances, jade, flint, obsidian, and wood held a vital essence, agency, and even personality. To work with these materials was to coax their life into full expression and to engage in witty play. Writing, too, could shift from hieroglyphic signs into vibrant glyphs that sprouted torsos, hands, and feet. Appearing to sing, grapple, and feed, they effectively blurred the distinction between text and image.

 

In this first full study of the nature of Maya materials and animism, renowned Mayanist scholar Stephen Houston provides startling insights into ...


2014   208 pp.  43 color + 72 b/w illus.   -   Cloth ISBN: 9780300196023  $50.00 sc

18 books to browse
AWARD-WINNING TITLES




Painting a Map of Sixteenth-Century Mexico City
Land, Writing, and Native Rule
 



Peruvian Featherworks
Art of the Precolumbian Era
 



Dancing into Dreams
Maya Vase Painting of the Ik' Kingdom
 



The Art of Pre-Columbian Gold
The Jan Mitchell Collection
 



The Glassell Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Masterworks of Pre-Columbian, Indonesian, and African Gold
 



Shapeshifting
Transformations in Native American Art
 



Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World
 



Olmec
Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico
 



Fiery Pool
The Maya and the Mythic Sea
 



Dialogues in Art History, from Mesopotamian to Modern
Readings for a New Century
 



The Shape of Time
Remarks on the History of Things
 



Machu Picchu
Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas
 



The Modern West
American Landscapes, 1890-1950
 



Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica
 



Heritage of Power: Ancient Sculpture from West Mexico
The Andrall E. Pearson Family Collection
 



The Responsive Eye
Ralph T. Coe and the Collecting of American Indian Art
 



The Tainos
Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus
 



The Art and Architecture of Ancient America, Third Edition
The Mexican, Maya and Andean Peoples