The Maya Gods of Time
“Simply a Beautiful Book”
Like many people who through their history degrees and post-graduate education, have our particular areas of interest. But we always have an area of history while not expert in it, it draws us in, and Mayan history and art does it for me. I am no expert, but love learning from those who are, and The Maya Gods of Time is an excellent education, especially the interpretation of Mayan art.
We are fortunate that Dr Jennifer John and her husband Dr Alexander John have brought that art and interpretation to light. The scholarship in this book is second to none! At the same time, we are given a new perspective to Maya Art, Drs John have brought around an act of cultural restoration and educate the reader about a philosophy that was centred on time and partly on creative destruction.
We are reminded that in Maya philosophy that the intangible, such as air, life, breath and the afterlife, were defined by its immediate worldly counterpart which formed a physical threshold. At the same time, how the Ik symbol was used to mark entry points into structures such as temples, and how this symbol was important to them conceptualising between the earthly and the supernatural.
Throughout the book there are some wonderful pictures and drawings, of structures as well as dishes and drinking vessels. Some beautiful lintels in which the carvings are beautiful while have a deeper meaning for Maya society. What I was surprised to learn and happy to have it explained in detail was how the art was a form of animation, portraying dance, dressing of a king, flights of birds and the dawning of the sun.
This stunning book will open the reader to an appreciation of the fuller grandeur and more importantly the complexity of Maya art. This is well written, well-illustrated and beautifully printed. Some suggest this as a ‘coffee’ table book, for me an excellent work of reference.