Can an Iconological Analysis of a Classic Period Vase (K1485) Further our Understanding of Ancient Maya Skyscapes?

Layser, Christopher (2019) Can an Iconological Analysis of a Classic Period Vase (K1485) Further our Understanding of Ancient Maya Skyscapes? Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

This study applies Renaissance art historian Erwin Panofsky’s three phase methodology of iconographic analysis to the painting on the Classic period Maya vase (K1485), referred to here as ‘The Vase of the Count of Days’, to investigate and identify potential cosmological or celestial content and, using a definition of the term skyscape as defined by Fabio Silva, to evaluate whether this image represents a stylized Maya skyscape. This investigation seeks to further the understanding of ancient Maya skyscapes by analyzing the celestial motifs, symbols, and allegories revealed on this vase. As a result, this study suggests glyphs embedded within skybands may have direct cosmological relation to the actors and actions surrounding them, opening new avenues of study in Maya skyscape iconology. It is the assessment of this thesis that all the young females in the image represent phases of the Moon goddess, and as such, her movement across time and space, her path as she traverses realms and her interactions with the Sun and Venus may have initiated the count days in the form of a complex lunisolar calendar. This ‘count’ would have direct ties to indigenous beliefs and practices in both their maize agricultural cycles and sacred ballgame. Additionally, it is argued that the painting on ‘The Vase of the Count of Days’ could serve as both a Maya cosmogram and as an instrument to visualize or aid in the count of the days of the sacred tzolk’in calendar.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Skyscape iconology, Maya
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 14:31
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 14:31
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1693

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