The Maya Ceramic Book of Creation: The Trials of the Popol Vuh Hero Twins Displayed on Classic Maya Polychrome Painted Pottery

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The Maya Ceramic Book of Creation: The Trials of the Popol Vuh Hero Twins Displayed on Classic Maya Polychrome Painted Pottery

Type: Research master thesis
Title: The Maya Ceramic Book of Creation: The Trials of the Popol Vuh Hero Twins Displayed on Classic Maya Polychrome Painted Pottery
Author: Beukers, Laura
Issue Date: 2013-08-31
Keywords: Maya
Ceramics
Popol Vuh
Hero Twins
Iconography
Abstract: This thesis presents an iconographic study of Classic Maya ceramics. Pictorial polychrome pottery is the primary source of Classic Maya painting that is left to us. In the sixth century we find the appearance of unique painting styles, the establishment of elite workshops and works that were so exceptional that they could be linked to specific painters. The painters of these vessels were among the most highly educated people in Maya society. They were educated in Maya history, science, ideology and cosmology and they also learned how to read and write. The elite painted pottery is therefore a fine source to get more information about Maya mythology. By an iconographical study of the Maya ceramic vessels it is determined which scenes from the mythological tale of the Popol Vuh are displayed on the images of the vessels. The Popol Vuh is the creation story of the Maya. The document was written down sometime between 1554 and 1558, by authors that stayed anonymous. It is commonly believed that the story of the Popol Vuh was actually much older and might once have been written in codex form. The Popol Vuh is the most significant source on ancient Maya mythology that survives today. The iconographical research is restricted to the heroic deeds of the Hero Twins, Junajpu and Xb’alanq’e. With the help of the previously identified characteristics of the Hero Twins, these characters are searched on all the available ceramics in the online Maya Vase Database, created by Justin Kerr. By an intense study into the ways that the Hero Twins are displayed on Maya ceramics many stories from the Popol Vuh have been identified. Some represented scenes proved to have been displayed on numerous vessels. Other scenes proved the be less important and were only portrayed sporadically. Multiple scene from the Popol Vuh were not portrayed at all suggesting that these stories were altered or added at a later time.
Supervisor: Jansen, Prof. dr. M.E.R.G.N
Faculty: Faculty of Archaeology
Department: Archaeology (Research master)
Specialisation: Religion and Society in Native American Cultures
ECTS Credits: 35
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/21576
 

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