Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture

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9780500051689: Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture
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Lavishly illustrated, fully cross-referenced and indexed: an invaluable book for anyone wishing to see and understand Maya art through the eyes of ancient scribes and artists.

The art of the ancient Maya may be considered their most singular cultural achievement. Yet despite a surge of popular interest in these remarkable people, few are fully aware of the richness of their artistic legacy, unique in all of pre-Columbian America. Maya art is a rare combination of linear elegance and naturalism blended with dazzling symbolic complexity. Decorated objects, ranging from painted vases and carved jade and shell ornaments to towering stone monuments and building facades, bear the traces of a symbol system that, while fascinating, can make an understanding of these images elusive to the uninitiated.

Presented here for the first time is a compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are also the building blocks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Organized thematically, the symbols touch on many facets of the Maya world, from the natural environment―animals, plants, the heavens―to the mental landscape of gods, myths, and rituals. Using hundreds of line drawings and photographs, Andrea Stone and Marc Zender show how to identify these signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. In addition to providing a basic introduction, the authors also offer many new and exciting interpretations. 535 black-and-white illustrations

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From the Author:

Although inspired by Richard H. Wilkinson's admirable Reading Egyptian Art (1992), the contents and format of this book are largely of our own devising, dictated by the nature of the Maya visual code.  We wrote it with the goal of illustrating the remarkable interdependence of Maya art and hieroglyphic writing in all time periods, from the Late Preclassic period origins of these visual media (in c. 500 BC) to their dissolution in the early Colonial era (c. AD 1550). 

Whether logograms (word signs) or phonetic syllables, Maya signs all derived from artistic depictions of the natural world, and they continued to develop in tandem with art through more than two thousand years of formal development, interaction, and influence.  At any given time period, and in any region of the Maya area (now compassing the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras), the depiction of a jaguar in art served as a template for its appearance in writing, and vice versa.  The title of our book -- Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture -- accurately captures the co-dependence of these visual media, using 100 common hieroglyphs to canvas Maya art for its real world referents, symbolic significances, and linguistic underpinnings.  But the book might equally well have been titled Viewing Maya Writing: An Artistic Guide to Ancient Maya Hieroglyphs, so deep was the connection between the artistic and the linguistic in Maya visual culture.

Join us for a fascinating exploration of the intertwined nature of Maya art and writing.

From the Inside Flap:

Andrea Stone is a professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to numerous articles on ancient Maya art, she is author of Images from the Underworld: Naj Tunich and the Tradition of Maya Cave Painting and editor of Heart of Creation: The Mesoamerican World and the Legacy of Linda Schele. Her research continues to explore Maya art and symbolism, Maya cave art and Mesoamerican rock art, and the intersection of art, gender, and politics.

Marc Zender is an associate curator and lecturer at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. His research interests include anthropological and historical linguistics, comparative writing systems, and decipherment, and he is the author of numerous articles on Maya hieroglyphic writing. He is associate editor of The PARI Journal and co-maintainer of Mesoweb, a major internet resource for the study of Mesoamerican cultures.

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Book Description Thames & Hudson Ltd, United Kingdom, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Presented here for the first time is a compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are also building blocks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Organized thematically, the symbols touch on many facets of the Maya world, from the natural environment - animals, plants, the heavens - to the metaphysical landscape of gods, myths and rituals. Using over five hundred line drawings and photographs, Andrea Stone and Marc Zender show how to identify these signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. In addition to providing a clear and accessible introduction to Maya art, linguistics and writing, the authors also offer many new and exciting interpretations. Lavishly illustrated, fully cross-referenced and indexed, this remarkable and innovative guide will prove an invaluable tool for those wishing to see Maya art, perhaps for the first time, through the eyes of ancient scribes and artists. Seller Inventory # AA29780500051689

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Book Description Thames & Hudson Ltd. Condition: New. 2011. 01st Edition. Hardcover. A compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are building locks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Using over five hundred line drawings and photographs, it shows how to identify the signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. Num Pages: 248 pages, 535 illustrations. BIC Classification: 1KLC; 1QDA; 3D; ACG; AFC; AFKB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 181 x 228 x 27. Weight in Grams: 932. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780500051689

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Book Description Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2011. Condition: New. 2011. 01st Edition. Hardcover. A compendium of one hundred hieroglyphs that are building locks of ancient Maya painting and sculpture. Using over five hundred line drawings and photographs, it shows how to identify the signs, understand their meaning, and appreciate the novel ways they appear in art. Num Pages: 248 pages, 535 illustrations. BIC Classification: 1KLC; 1QDA; 3D; ACG; AFC; AFKB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 181 x 228 x 27. Weight in Grams: 932. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780500051689

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