Maya Sculpture of Copán
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
316 Pages | 9 x 11 | 117 b&w illus., 1 map, 2 chart
In Part I, Baudez identifies and deciphers the specific motifs on each monument and shows how the elements were combined to produce meaningful iconographic messages. The architectural sculpture expresses the meaning and function of the buildings and complexes, many designed to represent the sky, earth, and underworld and to serve as stages for rituals. Photographs and drawings clarify the intricate forms.
Part II relates the iconography to the religion and politics of the city-state. Baudez traces the evolution of the motifs in relation to the history of Copán and the multiple functions of the king—his cosmic role, the continuous reference to his ancestors, and the dynastic cycles.
Sacrifice—bloodletting by the king and the sacrifice of captives—is of paramount importance. Growth and rebirth required constant offerings of blood to the earth and to the sun, to ensure its rebirth at dawn after its nocturnal journey through the underworld. The monuments give a coherent picture of Maya cosmology.