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OF BIRDS AND INSECTS: THE HUMMINGBIRD MYTH IN ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

  • Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

An important episode in Mesoamerican mythical narratives involves the abduction or impregnation of a tightly guarded maiden by a disguised god, against the will of her father or mother. This action precipitates major creational events that variously result in the origin of the sun, the moon, and human sustenance. Relying on a comparative analysis of versions recorded throughout Mesoamerica, this paper explores (a) representations of this episode in Maya art, where the suitor sometimes takes the shape of an insect; (b) the magical role of weaving and spinning, a recurrent theme in this mythical sequence; and (c) the relevance of Maya narratives for the interpretation of related passages in central Mexican mythology and ritual. Classic representations evidence the myth's antiquity, while its numerous versions pose methodological problems, addressed in this paper through the analysis of synonymies in narrative, art, and performance.

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E-mail correspondence to: ofchinch@ufm.edu.gt
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Robert S. Carlsen , and Martin Prechtel 1991 The Flowering of the Dead: An Interpretation of Highland Maya Culture. Man 26:2342.

Billie J. A Follensbee . 2008 Fiber Technology and Weaving in Formative-Period Gulf Coast Cultures. Ancient Mesoamerica 19:87110.

Michel Graulich 1983 Myths of Paradise Lost in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico. Current Anthropology 24:575588.

Julia A Hendon . 2006 Textile Production as Craft in Mesoamerca. Journal of Social Archaeology 6:354378.

Sharisse D. McCafferty , and Geoffrey G. McCafferty 1994 Engendering Tomb 7 at Monte Alban: Respinning an Old Yarn. Current Anthropology 35:143166.

Sybille de Pury-Toumi 1997 De palabras y maravillas: Ensayo sobre la lengua y la cultura de los nahuas (Sierra Norte de Puebla). Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes/Centro Francés de Estudios Mexicanos y Centroamericanos, Mexico City.

J. Eric S Thompson . 1930 Ethnology of the Mayas of Southern and Central British Honduras. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago.

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Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ISSN: 0956-5361
  • EISSN: 1469-1787
  • URL: /core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica
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