By Matthew G. Looper

The Maya of Mexico and crucial the United States have played ritual dances for greater than millennia. Dance continues to be a vital part of spiritual adventure at the present time, serving as a medium for conversation with the supernatural. throughout the past due vintage interval (AD 600-900), dance assumed extra value in Maya royal courts via an organization with feasting and present alternate. those performances allowed rulers to forge political alliances and show their keep an eye on of alternate in luxurious items. the classy values embodied in those performances have been heavily tied to Maya social constitution, expressing notions of gender, rank, and standing. Dance used to be hence no longer easily leisure, yet was once basic to old Maya notions of social, non secular, and political id. utilizing an cutting edge interdisciplinary technique, Matthew Looper examines different types of information proper to historical Maya dance, together with hieroglyphic texts, pictorial photographs in various media, and structure. a chain of case reviews illustrates the appliance of varied analytical methodologies and gives interpretations of the shape, that means, and social importance of dance functionality. even though the nuances of circulate in Maya dances are very unlikely to get better, Looper demonstrates wealth of different info survives which permits an in depth attention of many elements of functionality. To Be Like Gods therefore presents the 1st entire interpretation of the function of dance in historical Maya society and likewise serves as a version for comparative examine within the archaeology of functionality.

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Additional resources for To Be Like Gods: Dance in Ancient Maya Civilization (The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)

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It appears on the obverse (river side) of the stela in the caption near the feet of the figure on the left. The text records a dance by the father of Bird Jaguar IV, Itzamnah B’ahlam II, who ruled Yaxchilán for more than sixty years, from 681 until 742. The dance mentioned on Stela 11 took place on June 22, 741, about a year before he died. The name of his dance, jasaw chan, employs the term for the flapstaff. In the accompanying image, the ancient king holds such a staff in his right hand, facing his son, who holds a similar object.

Expelled from his capital by the rival Tikal king Nun Ujol Chahk in 672, B’alaj Chan K’awil eventually returned following reprisals against Tikal by Calakmul. Finally, in 679, B’alaj Chan K’awil defeated Nun Ujol Chahk. Although our knowledge is far from complete, it would appear from available evidence that the Dos Pilas ruler’s aggression against his rival from Tikal was sanctioned by Calakmul. Dances During the Reign of B’alaj Chan K’awil The subsequent monumental art programs at Dos Pilas celebrate the victories of B’alaj Chan K’awil over his rivals, but also affirm the support of Calakmul.

16. Yaxchilán Lintels 1, 2, and 3, from Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, vol. 3, pt. 1, pp. 13, 15, 17, reproduced courtesy of the President and Fellows of Harvard College. here is Aj Tz’a’ K’in Mo’ Ajaw, another sajal. The final event in the sequence takes place on April 3, 757, the five-tun anniversary of his accession, inscribed on the central lintel, Lintel 2 (Fig. 16b). It is another xukpi dance, performed by Bird Jaguar holding the bird-staff. This lintel departs from all others in the three temples, as it includes a second text describing a xukpi dance performed by Bird Jaguar IV’s son, the future Itzamnah B’ahlam III, the probable patron of the building (Martin and Grube 2000: 132).

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