Making, Sizing, Moving: Credit, Monumentality, and Direction in Maya Art and Writing


ACLS Fellowship Program




Maya texts and images of the Classic period, from 300–850 CE, in evidence unique for ancient America, had a set of identifiable artists, indications of sumptuary control over physical dimensions of images, and layouts or phrasings dictated by local ideas of ritual motion. This project addresses the full record of such named sculptors and calligraphers, as made possible by recent decipherments of glyphic writing. It also shows that dynastic displays, from carvings to buildings and murals, need to be understood by their relative size, scale, and the textual or pictorial representation of vertical and horizontal movement. Ultimately, it tells a more disquieting story, of how and why messaging was controlled in societies of profound inequality.