Animating materials

The sculpted forms of the ancient Maya world

Authored by: Megan E. O’Neil

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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The Classic-period Maya of the southern Lowlands created sculptural forms in a variety of media, including freestanding stone sculpture and monumental architectural façades made of modeled stucco or stone mosaic that were part of the rich physical and visual environment of ancient Maya cities. Artists also created small-scale items such as ceramic offering vessels, incense burners, and figurines; jadeite jewelry; and bone sculptures and ceremonial implements. This chapter reviews all types of sculptures and then focuses primarily on the historiography of stone monuments, examining scholarship on ancient Maya sculpture from the perspectives of art history, archaeology, anthropology, epigraphy, and materials sciences.

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