Maya Art and Kingship at Quirigua
277 Pages, 8.50 x 11.00 x 1.00 in, 72 b&w photos, 248 b&w illus., 4 b&w maps, 5 tables
Sales Date: December 1, 2003
The ancient Maya city of Quirigua occupied a crossroads between Copan in the southeastern Maya highlands and the major centers of the Peten heartland. Though always a relatively small city, Quirigua stands out because of its public monuments, which were some of the greatest achievements of Classic Maya civilization. Impressive not only for their colossal size, high sculptural quality, and eloquent hieroglyphic texts, the sculptures of Quirigua are also one of the few complete, in situ series of Maya monuments anywhere, which makes them a crucial source of information about ancient Maya spirituality and political practice within a specific historical context.
Using epigraphic, iconographic, and stylistic analyses, this study explores the integrated political-religious meanings of Quirigua's monumental sculptures during the eighth-century A.D. reign of the city's most famous ruler, K'ak' Tiliw. In particular, Matthew Looper focuses on the role of stelae and other sculpture in representing the persona of the ruler not only as a political authority but also as a manifestation of various supernatural entities with whom he was associated through ritual performance. By tracing this sculptural program from its Early Classic beginnings through the reigns of K'ak' Tiliw and his successors, and also by linking it to practices at Copan, Looper offers important new insights into the politico-religious history of Quirigua and its ties to other Classic Maya centers, the role of kingship in Maya society, and the development of Maya art.
~Rosemary A. Joyce, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
This is a significant contribution to the field. . . . Quirigua, although well-studied archaeologically, has not received this kind of single dedicated study of monuments. . . . This is not because the site and its art are unimportant; as this study amply demonstrates, the artwork of the site is of great significance within the gamut of Classic Maya art.
~Nick Saunders, New Scientist
This is a strange and powerful story, based on impeccable scholarship, and compellingly told. It is one of the few academic books on the Maya that I would recommend to everyone.
- 1. Life at the Crossroads: Quirigua before K'ak' Tiliw
- 2. A Restive Vassal: The Early Reign of K'ak' Tiliw
- 3. Rebellion and Revival: The First Stelae of K'ak' Tiliw
- 4. Dreams of Power: Stelae F, D, and E
- 5. Foundation of the Cosmic House: Stelae C and A and Zoomorph B
- 6. In Honor of a Great Warrior: The Legacy of K'ak' Tiliw
- Appendix A. Rulers of Quirigua
- Appendix B. Historical Events Recorded in the Texts of Quirigua
- Appendix C. Selected Historical Events from the Texts of Copan
- Appendix D. Transcriptions and Translations of the Monumental Inscriptions Commissioned by K'ak' Tiliw
The publication of Lightning Warrior was made possible by the support of the The Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies.