Molding and Stamping Hieroglyphs on Maya Ceramics

Author(s): Mallory E. Matsumoto

Year: 2017


This paper examines the implications of mold-made ceramic texts for understanding Maya scribal practice and script ideology. Most studies of hieroglyphs on ancient Maya ceramics have focused on painted and incised vessels whose glyphic and iconographic contents were made by hand on an individual basis and often with a particular consumer in mind. In contrast, the molded texts addressed here consist of pre-formed hieroglyphs that were integrated into the vessel body itself, either by shaping all or part of the ceramic in a hard mold or by applying a stamp to its leather-hard surface. Previous theoretical work on reprographics suggest that written technologies can significantly influence the development of literary and intellectual culture, literary practice, ideologies of writing (e.g., Anderson 2001; De Weerdt 2011; Egan 2011; Eisenstein 1980). Furthermore, molded ceramic texts differ linguistically in manifesting fewer specific references to either the vessel or its user(s), more variability in content, and a more restricted temporal and spatial distribution than those with painted glyphs. More detailed study of this ceramic corpus promises to enhance our understanding of the relationship between the hieroglyphic script, writing technologies, and those who produced and interaction with the ceramic texts.

Cite this Record

Molding and Stamping Hieroglyphs on Maya Ceramics. Mallory E. Matsumoto. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430017)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13171