Jaina Figurines. A Reflection of Social Identities in (Late)-Classic Maya Court

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Jaina Figurines. A Reflection of Social Identities in (Late)-Classic Maya Court

Type: Master thesis
Title: Jaina Figurines. A Reflection of Social Identities in (Late)-Classic Maya Court
Author: Kam, Janneke de
Issue Date: 2011-08-11
Abstract: Jaina figurines are ceramic statuettes of approximately 25-30cm high, the majority of which is found on Jaina Island, near the coastline of Campeche, Mexico. They are produced between 500-900AD and belong to the Classic/(Late)-Classic period of Maya civilization. The far majority of the statuettes is found in a burial context. Because of the favourable preservation conditions in the burial, the colours (red, white, Maya blue, and yellow) are still clearly visible. This study focuses on the social identities visible in the Jaina figurines. Which information can be derived from the statuettes concerning the social identities that existed in the (Late)-Classic Maya society? For this study 28 Jaina figurines are examined. They are discussed on several focal points to identify the portrayed social identity: colour, clothing, jewellery, position of the body, headdress, face, gender, and emotion. A model by Houston is used for the latter part, emotion can provide information about the social status of the depicted individual. Jaina figurines of this corpus display social identities that were present in (Late)-Classic Maya court life, including supernaturals. In Maya worldview, gods were like any other social identity part of society. Jaina figurines provide insights in the gender division of labour that existed in Maya society as known from that period from other sources. Because of the natural attitude of the depicted individuals, Jaina figurines form a unique 3D source for a study on (Late)-Classic Maya court life. This study has several limitations, the sample is limited and no research was performed on Jaina Island itself. A wider research containing more access to more statuettes and an investigation of its context could answer many new questions risen in this thesis. This study is a good picture of the social identities that occurred in (Late)-Classic Maya court. It shows the potential of information about Maya court life that can be derived from studying Jaina figurines.
Supervisor: Jansen, M.E.R.G.N.
Faculty: Faculty of Archaeology
Department: Archaeology
Language: English
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/18894
 

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