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Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art

Pillsbury, Joanne, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, and James A. Doyle, with contributions by Iyaxel Cojti Ren, Caitlin C. Earley, Stephen D. Houston, and Daniel Salazar Lama
2022
244 pages
190 illustrations
8.5 x 11 in
Winner, Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award, 2024
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An introduction to the complex stories of Mesoamerican divinity through the carvings, ceramics, and metalwork of the Maya Classic period

Lives of the Gods reveals how ancient Maya artists evoked a pantheon as rich and complex as the more familiar Greco-Roman, Hindu-Buddhist, and Egyptian deities. Focusing on the period between A.D. 250 and 900, the authors show how this powerful cosmology informed some of the greatest creative achievements of Maya civilization.

Met Art in Publication

Maize God emerging from a flower, Ceramic, pigment, Maya
Maya
7th–9th century
Vessel with mythological scene, Metropolitan Painter, Ceramic, pigment, Maya
7th–8th century
Statuette of Amun, Gold
ca. 945–712 B.C.
Harihara, Sandstone, Cambodia or Vietnam
Cambodia or Vietnam
late 7th–early 8th century
Shrine of the Virgin, Oak, linen covering, polychromy, gilding, gesso, German
German
ca. 1300
Flywhisk (tahiri ra’a), Wood, coconut fiber, human hair, Rurutu or Tupua'I Island
Rurutu or Tupua'I Island
Early–mid-19th century
Celt with Incised Profile, Jade (jadeite), traces of red pigment, Olmec
Olmec
10th–4th century BCE
Spider Monkey with Wind God Regalia, Stone, Aztec
Aztec
13th–16th century
Whistling vessel, Maya artist, Ceramic, Maya
400–500 CE
Vessel with mythological scene, Metropolitan Painter, Ceramic, Maya
7th–8th century
Tripod plate with mythological scene, Ceramic with red, cream, and black slip, Maya
Maya
7th–8th century
Vessel with mythological scene, Ceramic, Maya
Maya
7th–8th century
Chahk, Limestone, Maya
Maya
9th century
Pair of carved ornaments with the Maize God, Shell, Maya
Maya
5th–7th century

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Citation

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Chinchilla Mazariegos, Oswaldo Fernando, Joanne Pillsbury, James A. Doyle, eds. 2022. Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.