Maya Ideologies of the Sacred

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Maya Ideologies of the Sacred

The Transfiguration of Space in Colonial Yucatan

By Amara Solari

Using the Maya city of Itzmal as a case study, this book explores how indigenous conceptions of space and landscape both aided and subverted the Franciscan evangelical effort in Colonial Yucatan.

Latin American and Caribbean Arts and Culture Publication Initiative

July 2013

$55.00$36.85

33% website discount price

Hardcover

7 x 10 | 244 pp. | 36 b&w photos, 22 color photos, 14 line drawings, 4 maps, 1 tables

ISBN: 978-0-292-74494-3

As Spaniards built colonies in the New World, men of the cloth saw within ancient ruins and inhabited native towns great potential for easing the colonization effort. In the Yucatan, which is the locus of this study, Franciscan friars seized upon the opportunity to “conquer” Maya places for Christianity. Their practice of remaking a Maya town into a Christian town—often building their church on the very foundations of an ancient sacred site—represented the absolute triumph of their religion, the ultimate defeat of the pagan demonic forces by the true faith.

This book addresses the Franciscan evangelical campaign of sixteenth-century Yucatan and investigates how Maya conceptions of space, landscape, and history influenced the conversion strategies adopted by the friars. Amara Solari analyzes colonial manuscripts written in Yucatec Mayan to discern how Maya communities conceived of land (and more abstractly, space) and how they encoded space with cultural significance. She demonstrates how these indigenous understandings of space and its history, a locale’s “spatial biography,” made the transference of sacrality possible. Using the Maya city of Itzmal as a case study, Solari examines the process of transferring sacrality and healing abilities from the Maya deity Itzamnaaj to a numinous statue of the Virgin Mary. She also reveals how the hybrid religious ideology that evolved allowed the native Maya population to subvert colonial political and religious programs and maintain community identity in the early years of the colonial period.

  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Orthography
  • Chapter 1: Spatial Conquests of the Yucatan Peninsula
  • Chapter 2: The Ritualized Landscape of Pre-Columbian Itzmal
  • Chapter 3: Animated Landscapes in Text and Image
  • Chapter 4: Cartographic Narrative and Maya Spatial Ideologies in Literature
  • Chapter 5: Circular Cosmologies and Colonial Maya Cartographic Practice
  • Chapter 6: The Transfiguration of Colonial Itzmal
  • Conclusion: The Seventeenth-Century Transference of Locative Power
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Amara Solari is Assistant Professor of Art History and Anthropology at the Pennsylvania State University. She is the coauthor of 2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain, primarily focusing on the Maya of the Yucatan peninsula.

 

Solari, Maya Ideologies of the Sacred: The Transfiguration of Space in Colonial Yucatán

Amara Solari of Penn State speaks about the opposing views of sacred space in post-conquest Yucatán.
Series: The University of Texas Press Podcasts

Author: University of Texas Press | Date: Monday, 21 January 2013 | Duration: 16:38

Using the Maya city of Itzmal as a case study, this book explores how indigenous conceptions of space and landscape both aided and subverted the Franciscan evangelical effort in Colonial Yucatan. This podcast was produced in part by the Latin American and Caribbean Arts & Culture Publication Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.