Taube and Taube – The Beautiful, the Bad, and the Ugly

Taubes’ paper brings to light fresh examples of Mayan figurines, including sketches that are easier to interpret than some of the original examples.  It looks at the relatively cheap and popular medium of figurines, and some parallels between their subjects and Western equivalents (e.g. the folly of grotesque old men and nubile young lovers). 

The authors also look at the positioning of dwarfs in some way close to the king or the throne, along with the more intimate side of court life revealed by many of the figurines:

‘Late Classic Maya figurines provide a wonderful corpus  of genres concerning ritual clowning.  In contrast to the stone and stucco sculpture of elite public architecture, both figurines and vases depict far more intimate and anecdotal scenes of courtly life.’ (p. 250)


GAP MAP: hope to see more examples emerging from South America


Source: Taube, Rhonda & Karl Taube, ‘The Beautiful, the Bad, and the Ugly: Aesthetics and morality in Maya figurines’, in Mesoamerican Figurines: Small-scale indices of large-scale social phenomena, Christina Halperin, Katherine Faust, Rhonda Taube & Aurore Giguet (eds) (Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 2009), pp. 236-58




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