How Do You Make an Iguana Tamale?
PhD Candidate in Chemistry, University at Albany–SUNY
Chii`k Naab Mural Painting, Calakmul, Maya, ca. 650–700 C.E. (photograph © UNESCO)
The Classic Maya provided a vision of their world through the information left in hieroglyphic texts and images. While this vision is often limited to the lives of the elites and the divine, the idealized presentation does, at its root, indicate real behavior—real rituals, real foods, and real people and places. Although these texts and images would have easily communicated these ideal realities to the Classic Maya, such a perspective isn’t available to us as modern researchers. All aspects of ancient Mayan research have limitations: archaeology by preservation, epigraphy by under-specified statements, ethnology by the intervening centuries, and art by an isolated subject or moment within a larger tale. Ideally, the art, hieroglyphics, archaeology, and ethnography/ethnohistory would each support or fill in the others’ missing pieces. At times, though, each seems to offer up different—even conflicting—stories. This presentation discusses where we should also be looking to build more of the context behind the text and images, and how we can triangulate more answers from each aspect of research towards the real Mayan vision.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
6 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts
1 East 78th Street
Followed by a reception with wine and cheese in the Loeb Room