Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyFisher (The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt) here focuses on the principal figures in ancient Mayan mythology, devoting a spread to each of a dozen gods and goddesses. The profiles are succinct, like encyclopedia entries; the full-page pictures, vibrantly hued, pay homage to Mayan art and glyphs. Combined with the powerful frontal compositions, the choice of a different, bold background color for each spread invigorates the pages. Not all of these figures are benevolent: Ix Tab, the goddess of suicide, "was usually depicted as a dead woman, hanging from heaven with a rope around her neck"; and in a ritual devoted to Manik, the god of human sacrifice, a warrior "would be stretched on his back over a stone altar by four priests. Another priest would plunge a knife into his chest and tear out his heart." The discrete presentation focusing on individual deities may be useful for students writing school reports; readers interested in a more organic or contextual approach to Mayan religion will want to see Victor Montejo and Luis Garay's Popol Vuh (see Notes, below). Ages 10-12. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library JournalGr 3-7-An introduction to Mayan mythology and a glimpse at a highly stylized art form. Following a brief description of the culture, Fisher describes 12 of its most important deities. For each god or goddess, a clear, one-page account discusses his or her nature (benevolent, destructive, or sometimes dual), physical characteristics, function in the society, and symbols. Facing the pages of text are full-page paintings inspired by Mayan glyphs and stelae depicting profiled figures with sloped foreheads holding or wearing representative objects or clothing. Bold, vibrant tones highlight the features of these heavily outlined figures and form backdrops for the pages. A useful pronunciation guide concludes the volume. End pages provide a map locating the major archaeological sites and illustrate the Mayan numbering system. This book will be useful as an introduction to the myths and for comparative studies. A visual treat from cover to cover.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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