Mesoamerican communicating objects: Mayan worldviews before, during, and after Spanish contact

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


Precolumbian Mesoamericans understood their world within much different worldviews than do Western Europeans and Euro-Americans. In this chapter, concentrating on politico-religious communicating objects, I suggest that although the Western scientific notion of separating the natural and supernatural worlds applies in our worldviews, such a dichotomy distorts Native American cosmologies. I further suggest that our continued application of the sacred and profane dichotomy has also hindered our progress in better understanding Precolumbian, colonial, and contemporary Mesoamerican cosmologies. I begin by briefly summarizing our Western theoretical separation of the natural and supernatural, followed by contextualizing Precolumbian to contemporary Mesoamerican worldviews, and conclude by suggesting that the ancient Maya had, and some of their descendants continuing to have, a personal relationship with their living ancestors via communicating objects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaya Worldviews at Conquest
PublisherUniversity Press of Colorado
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780870819452
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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