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The Once and Future King: A New Approach to Ancient Maya Mortuary Monuments from Palenque, Tikal, and Copan

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10896

The Once and Future King: A New Approach to Ancient Maya Mortuary Monuments from Palenque, Tikal, and Copan

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dc.contributor.author Olton, Elizabeth
dc.date.accessioned 2010-06-28T22:22:53Z
dc.date.available 2010-06-28T22:22:53Z
dc.date.issued 2010-06-28T22:22:53Z
dc.date.submitted May 2010
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10896
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines the Temple of the Inscriptions, Temple I, and Temple 26 and explores what could have motivated the Maya to construct these large monuments and how they might have been meaningful. Traditional art historical methods of comparative and formal analyses are employed as tools for discussing patterns of meaning among these temples. The structural and decorative programs shared by all three temples signal that they are part of a separate genre of architecture that is specifically mortuary and interactive. Furthermore, these features are also a mode of communication. Messages depicted in the offerings, sculpture, and spaces of the royal interment resonated throughout the entire monument thus creating parallel environments. Architecture and imagery thereby become the agents for experience and meaning: these structures were active places that engaged the viewer, set up a series of experiences, and elicited a particular set of responses. These three monuments symbolized a continuum and depicted in their forms, spaces, and imagery was the cyclical progression of life and rebirth. In the years between 683 to 734 C.E., the ancient Maya cities of Palenque, Tikal, and Copan experienced great change caused by the death and burial of powerful kings and the accession of new kings. As demonstrated in evidence from the mortuary rituals and interments of K’inich Janaab Pakal, Jasaw Chan K’awiil, and K’ahk Uti’ Wiz’ K’awiil and in their respective mortuary monuments, the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque, Temple I at Tikal, and Temple 26 at Copan, these funerary events initiated new forms of art and architecture that changed the ceremonial cores of their respective cities. Memorializing a dead king was not the function of these temples. Instead, they were statements of continuity that were articulated in themes of renewal, transformation, and intergenerational convergence. Evidence suggests that the ancient Maya understood these monuments in their entirety; they were thus comprehended as funerary temples that were designed to be experienced in a manner that went beyond cognitive understanding. This dissertation examines the Temple of the Inscriptions, Temple I, and Temple 26 and explores what could have motivated the Maya to construct these large monuments and how they might have been meaningful. Traditional art historical methods of comparative and formal analyses are employed as tools for discussing patterns of meaning among these temples. The structural and decorative programs shared by all three temples signal that they are part of a separate genre of architecture that is specifically mortuary and interactive. Furthermore, these features are also a mode of communication. Messages depicted in the offerings, sculpture, and spaces of the royal interment resonated throughout the entire monument thus creating parallel environments. Architecture and imagery thereby become the agents for experience and meaning: these structures were active places that engaged the viewer, set up a series of experiences, and elicited a particular set of responses. These three monuments symbolized a continuum and depicted in their forms, spaces, and imagery was the cyclical progression of life and rebirth. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Latin American and Iberian Institute, The University of New Mexico; The Department of Art and Art History, The University of New Mexico; The Tinker Foundation;The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California; The Office of Graduate Studies, The University of New Mexico;The Graduate and Professional Student Association, The University of New Mexico; The Copan Field School, Department of Art and Art History, The University of New Mexico en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Ancient Maya Art History en_US
dc.subject Copan en_US
dc.subject Palenque en_US
dc.subject Tikal en_US
dc.subject Mortuary Architecuture en_US
dc.subject Afterlife en_US
dc.subject Burial Rituals en_US
dc.subject Death Studies en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Maya architecture--Mexico--Palenque Site
dc.subject.lcsh Maya architecture--Guatemala--Tikal Site
dc.subject.lcsh Maya architecture--Honduras--Copan Site
dc.subject.lcsh Mayas--Kings and rulers--Death and burial
dc.title The Once and Future King: A New Approach to Ancient Maya Mortuary Monuments from Palenque, Tikal, and Copan en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.description.degree Doctor of Philosophy en_US
dc.description.level Doctoral en_US
dc.description.department University of New Mexico. Dept. of Art and Art History en_US
dc.description.advisor Flora S. Clancy, Holly Barnet-Sanchez
dc.description.committee-member Christopher C. Mead, Clemency C. Coggins
dc.description.committee-member Virginia E. Miller, Michael D. Carrasco


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