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Audience and Ritual Context Associated with Painted Capstone and Codical Texts from the Northern Maya Lowlands

Author(s): Gabrielle Vail

Year: 2016

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Summary

The northern Maya lowlands provide a rich corpus of painted texts associated with the interior and exterior walls of buildings; capstones serving to seal off vaulted chambers, which often contain burials; and painted screenfold books, or codices. In a number of cases, these texts and their associated pictorial component were painted to commemorate—or provide the template for—important rituals. Many of these rituals can be identified based on ethnohistoric sources, including Diego de Landa’s "Relación de las cosas de Yucatán," which highlights the "festivals" associated with each twenty-day month of the year, as well as other ritual occasions. This information, in combination with that from the hieroglyphic and iconographic sources, provides important clues for determining context and audience. This paper examines the underlying agricultural basis of both capstone and codical texts and explores what the different media, time periods (the former date to the Late and Terminal Classic periods and the latter to the Late Postclassic period), and hieroglyphic captions tell us about elite versus agrarian rituals and what they reveal about a group’s social memory.


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Audience and Ritual Context Associated with Painted Capstone and Codical Texts from the Northern Maya Lowlands. Gabrielle Vail. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404292)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America