Maya relations with the material world

Authored by: Eleanor Harrison-Buck

The Maya World

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  June  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138492837
eBook ISBN: 9781351029582
Adobe ISBN:


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Like many other cultures in the Americas, the ancient Maya did not see the world in terms of a sharp distinction between active subjects and passive objects. Rather, material objects such as sculptures, trees, and houses each were not only seen as being alive, but potentially having some degree of personhood. This chapter explores the ways in which humans had strong social relations not just among themselves but among non-human actors. The chapter also considers the notion that objects might have agency and considers how such objects play into political strategies, the maintenance of authority, and the construction of identity.

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