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Maya civilization art. Free ebook in French of Abigaëlle Richard's research: "Dance and death among the Maya: analysis of iconographic representations of dance on polychrome vases"

In 2002 at the Université de Montréal, as one of my Masters program (M.SC.) seminar on pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, I made this research on the Maya civilization art and iconography based on the study of Mayan paintings on vases and pottery. The main subject of the study was the symbolic relationship between representations of dance and death in Mayan art.

The full text is in French but you can find here the basic translation of the introduction. The full text in French is available for download for free (see below) and you can offer a Paypal donation if you so wish.

Dance and death among the Maya: analysis of iconographic representations of dance on polychrome vases

The objective of this analysis is first to examine the different types of Mayan dances and then to determine to what extent death, in the broad sense of the term, occupied an important place in the context or the themes of these dances. The analysis of the iconographic representations of dance on the polychrome vases made it possible to determine, by means of a deductive approach, which proportion of these representations was centered on the theme of death. In order to place these representations in context and to obtain a broader picture of the types of Maya dances, this analysis was supplemented by the contribution of ancient sources (written and iconographic) and recent works.

We will therefore begin with a brief description of the general context of Mayan dances. We will see by whom they were performed, in which places, which musical instruments accompanied them and finally, what types of costumes were worn by the dancers. Then, we will briefly discuss the contribution to our analysis of iconographic representations, ancient sources and recent works. Thereafter, we will briefly describe the different types of dances not directly related to death, finally emphasizing and examining in detail the types of dances which seem to have had a more direct connection with the theme of the death.


The analysis of iconographic material, ancient sources and recent works have allowed us to obtain a clearer, if not exhaustive, picture of Mayan dances and their context. Indeed, through this study we were able to detect a large number of dances linked, at least indirectly, to death and the underworld. Indeed, the mythological contexts of the Popol Vuh and the corn-god, the contexts of sacrifice and war, the context of communication with supernatural beings and the context of hunting ceremonies within calendar festivals show us an important link between the dance and death. We find a very large majority of polychrome vases illustrating the epic of the corn god, dances of kings which in various contexts allowed communication with the beyond and the maintenance of the spiritual, social and political structure of Mayan society."

(2002) Abigaëlle Richard. Dance and death among the Maya: analysis of iconographic representations of dance on polychrome vases, Master's thesis research seminar, Université de Montréal, Montréal.

(2002) Abigaëlle Richard. La danse et la mort chez les Maya : analyse des représentations iconographiques de danse sur les vases polychromes, séminaire de maîtrise, Université de Montréal, Montréal.

Download the free ebook in French:

La danse et la mort chez les Maya : analyse des representations iconographiques de danse s
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Who is Mokusho Abigaëlle Richard?

As a starseed soul, intuitive artist, iconographer, transmitter, collage artist and travel photographer, my soul purpose is to share my higher self connection and spiritual intuitive guidance in the form of a reading or Creative Intuitive Transmission with meaning (iconography), high vibration words and artwork as an original art collage of Japanese art style washi chiyogami paper (normally used for origami). It also takes the form of color and black and white photo digital files of travel, nature, landscape, animal, urban, architecture and b&w photography. Both are for sale as wall art in my art shop and their creative process and inspiration is discussed in blog posts on this website. They are also shared as videography on “The grounded starseed” Youtube channel, to offer you high frequency art.


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