Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art

Overview

"[A] work as remarkable for its text as for the photographs and drawings that illustrate it."—Octavio Paz, The New York Review of Books
A comprehensive guide to the Maya which reveals kingship rites, ritual warfare, with a vast array of color plates and drawings.

A comprehensive guide to the Maya which reveals kingship rites, ritual warfare, with a vast array of color plates and drawings.

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Overview

"[A] work as remarkable for its text as for the photographs and drawings that illustrate it."—Octavio Paz, The New York Review of Books
A comprehensive guide to the Maya which reveals kingship rites, ritual warfare, with a vast array of color plates and drawings.

A comprehensive guide to the Maya which reveals kingship rites, ritual warfare, with a vast array of color plates and drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lavishly produced (with 122 color plates, 300 drawings and 50 black-and-white illustrations), this book, designed to accompany a traveling exhibition, is narrowly focused on the opulent lifestyle and ideology of the Maya ruling elite. Maya history is presented mainly in terms of the sumptuary art, dynastic succession and peculiar (sadomasochistic) courtly rituals of these aristocrats. Schele and Miller see as the keys to this civilization an underworld myth (the Popol Vuh) and grisly blood-letting and -taking ceremonies conducted in royal precincts, parade grounds, ball courts and battlefields, which are pictured on relief carvings and paintings. This interpretation is based on a new phonetic reading of Maya hieroglyphics that has gained ground since the 1960s, to which Schele has contributed heavily. She has come up with eyecatching decipherments of glyphs on monuments that identify the names, dates and some major eventsbirth, death, marriage, accession, the capture of enemiesin the lives of individual Maya kings. Much of this intriguing explication is clearly laid out in the text, captions and notes. (July 31)
Library Journal
Though Maya script, symbolism, and mythology are not yet fully understood, research from the last 25 years is showing that the Maya, once seen as ``simple'' peaceful people, are now thought to have lived in rival city-states waging war to capture prisoners who were often sacrificed to enhance the power of rulers. This exhibition catalog is organized along eight themes that recur in Maya art. The 123 spectacular color plates, along with black-and-white photographs and 200 drawings, are intimately bound to the text: they are the pictorial representations of the sacred objects and places that imbued Maya political and religious life with meaning. The authors have built on important recent research to shed new light on the Maya code and symbolism; this is an important contribution to our understanding of the Classic Maya. Winfred Lambrecht, Anthropology Dept., Brown Univ.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780912804224
  • Publisher: Kimbell Art Museum
  • Publication date: 3/22/1991
  • Pages: 350

Meet the Author

Mary Ellen Miller is the Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. Her previous books include The Art of Mesoamerica.

Michael D. Coe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University. His books include The Maya, Mexico, Breaking the Maya Code, Angkor and the Khmer Civilization, and Reading the Maya Glyphs. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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