Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1

By Takeshi Inomata; Stephen D. Houston | Go to book overview

1
Opening the Royal Maya Court

TAKESHI INOMATA STEPHEN D. HOUSTON

The English word court has two basic meanings. The first is that of a group of people, including the sovereign and the individuals who surround this high personage. The second describes an architectural compound where the royal family lives and where a significant portion of court activities takes place. The focus of this book is very firmly on the former, that is, on the court as a group of people. The latter, the architectural complex, serves of necessity as a primary source of information. Architecture remains are not mere material residues of past behavior, but they probably played active roles in shaping the concepts and acts of court members ( McAnany and Plank, this volume). We, nonetheless, are far more interested in the long-deceased people who lived, worked, and died in such locations. Moreover, all courts change through time, if in a manner conditioned by the inertia of courtly protocol, habitual practice, and monumental setting--what David Webster (this volume) has called the "hermit-crab" effect, but from which these royal crabs could not so easily extract themselves! To look at change, this book embraces the Maya area of southeastern Mesoamerica, from the Late pre-Classic, Classic, and post-Classic periods (Figure 1.1). Because of their rich and comprehensive evidence, the southern lowlands during the Classic period constitute the core of many papers. The chapters that follow are equally attentive to Early Colonial mention of pre-Hispanic courts and to their survivals after Spanish contact. Each of the contributors makes clear how much is known, but also how very much more needs to be done before a full history of the Maya court can be written. This introduction, then, is a beginning to a beginning, as we slowly uncover the royal Maya court to modern gaze.

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Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya: Theory, Comparison, and Synthesis - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Obituary, Floyd Lounsbury xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Opening the Royal Maya Court 3
  • Part One Theoretical and Thematic Approaches 25
  • Part Two Comparative Views and Conclusions 235
  • Contributors 279
  • Index 281
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