Death and the Classic Maya Kings (Linda Schele Series in by James L. Fitzsimmons

By James L. Fitzsimmons

Like their regal opposite numbers in societies around the world, historical Maya rulers departed this global with difficult burial ceremonies and extravagant grave items, which frequently incorporated ceramics, purple pigments, earflares, stingray spines, jades, pearls, obsidian blades, and mosaics. Archaeological research of those burials, in addition to the decipherment of inscriptions that checklist Maya rulers' funerary rites, have opened a desirable window on how the traditional Maya envisaged the ruler's passage from the area of the residing to the area of the ancestors. concentrating on the vintage interval (AD 250-900), James Fitzsimmons examines and compares textual and archaeological facts for rites of demise and burial within the Maya lowlands, from which he creates versions of royal Maya funerary habit. Exploring historical Maya attitudes towards demise expressed at famous websites equivalent to Tikal, Guatemala, and Copan, Honduras, in addition to less-explored archaeological destinations, Fitzsimmons reconstructs royal mortuary rites and expands our knowing of key Maya options together with the afterlife and ancestor veneration.

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The death of a Classic Maya lord could be thought of as putrescent, represented by his decaying body, and as sweet, the manifestation of the breathsoul leaving his lifeless body. indb 28 10/30/08 12:37:56 PM de ath and the af ter life in the l ow l ands in the verb k’a’pes (to terminate, finish, or arrest). ” Iconographically, the fact that fragrant smells often emanate from sak, “white,” glyphs only strengthens the analogy between death and floral issue (Figure 14).  Houston and Taube have likewise noted the association between the plumeria and “wind” in Yucatec.

Clearly, this was an important event in the history of Piedras Negras, where political and religious events converged at precisely recorded times. The events surrounding these activities are well known. Following the death of K’inich Yo’nal Ahk I, his son waited almost four months to take office.  Thus for the lords of Piedras Negras, we have discrete, dated ceremonies occurring on ritually significant days attached to the death of a ruler. indb 9 figure 2. Piedras Negras Panel 2 (Stuart 2003; from the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, Vol.

Being able to reconstruct not only the rituals involved but also the ideas that drove them highlights the similarities and differences of a belief system spanning the Maya lowlands. While Classic texts were written by and for native and visiting dignitaries, some of the largest results of royal mortuary practice—in the form of temples and other large-scale monuments—were visible to individuals outside the royal sector. In a sense, the way in which Classic Maya kings represented death communicated it to others.

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