Re-Creating Primordial Time

Foundation Rituals and Mythology in the Postclassic Maya Codices

by Gabrielle Vail and Christine Herná­­ndez

Hardcover Price $89.00
Ebook Price $71.00
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

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"This book presents the very latest interpretation of several of the most important sections of the Maya codices by two of the foremost experts on the subject. It is a major step forward in codical research, pushing the boundaries of traditional categories and delving into the apparently very rich mythic content of these manuscripts, which are essentially divinatory in nature . . . an essential reference work not only for codical researchers but for all Mesoamericanists."
—Matthew Looper, California State University, Chico

"Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernandez have contributed an important study about the Mayan codices and the related historiography. . . . This book is highly recommended to researchers, students, and readers interested in Mayan cultures and associated codices."
—Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"One should, perhaps, say a word about the importance of this work for sixteenth-century scholars. Anyone with a post-colonialist bent needs to become familiar with the mythology behind pre-Hispanic Maya and Mexican cultures, if only to understand the process of religious syncretism that took place once Christianity took over. In a series of appendices, Vail and Hernandez provide and thorough beginners introduction to the mythological dramatis personae and weave the information together in such a way as to make the highly complex codices less of a mystery . . . this attempt at a thematically based overview of the codices will long serve as the touchstone for future arguments."
—James Ogier, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Vail and Herná­ndez's work will stimulate renewed discussion about the structure, contents, and fucntions of the Maya codices."
—Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Journal of Anthropological Research


Re-Creating Primordial Time offers a new perspective on the Maya codices, documenting the extensive use of creation mythology and foundational rituals in the hieroglyphic texts and iconography of these important manuscripts. Focusing on both pre-Columbian codices and early colonial creation accounts, Vail and Hernández show that, in spite of significant cultural change during the Postclassic and Colonial periods, mythological traditions in Mesoamerica reveal significant continuity, beginning at least as far back as the Classic period.

Such continuities persisted within the Maya tradition, even as new mythologies were incorporated through contact with cultures in the Gulf Coast region and highland central Mexico. Vail and Herná­­ndez analyze the extant Maya codices within the context of later Colonial period literary sources, the Late Postclassic codices in the Borgia Group from highland central Mexico, and modern Maya ethnographic data. Demonstrating key interrelationships among these diverse sources, Re-Creating Primordial Time is a significant contribution to the field of Mesoamerican Studies.


How to use this book:
Re-Creating Primordial Time is a technologically enhanced reading experience, containing a number of QR codes for the print reader and active web links for the ebook reader. These direct the reader to specific sections of the online resource The Maya Hieroglyphic Codices, pertaining to the text for added context. Please click on the "TOC and sample chapter" link at the bottom of this page to test out this functionality.


Gabrielle Vail is a research scholar specializing in codical and pre-Columbian studies at New College of Florida and the author or coeditor of five books.

Christine Herná­­ndez is the Curator of Special Collections at the Latin American Library at Tulane University and a Mesoamerican archaeologist who has published on topics ranging from Michoacan archaeology to pre-Columbian codices.

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  • Hardcover Price: $89.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-220-7
  • Ebook Price: $71.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-221-4
  • Publication Month: June
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Pages: 512
  • Illustrations: 95 b&w photographs, 56 line drawings
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Gabrielle Vail and Christine Herná­­ndez
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-220-7
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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