Cover image for Courtly art of the ancient Maya
Courtly art of the ancient Maya
Miller, Mary Ellen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco ; New York : Thames & Hudson, [2004]

Physical Description:
304 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), map ; 29 cm
General Note:
"Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 4 April-25 July 2004; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 4 September 2004-2 January 2005"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1435 .M55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This well illustrated book, written by Mary Miller and Simon Martin, sheds new light on royal life at the court of the ancient Maya.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

While it comes as no surprise to the specialist that the most exquisite examples of Maya art emerge from the context of their innumerable royal courts, this handsome exhibition catalog offers a most serviceable introduction to that only partially knowable universe of sophisticated patronage and high artistic accomplishment. In six essays and accompanying catalog entries, noted Mayanists Miller (history of art, Yale) and Martin (research specialist, Univ. of Pennsylvania) articulate and illustrate an urban and urbane society dominated by refined dynasts employing artist-craftsmen of a supreme caliber to express a vision of existence that is simultaneously worldly, literate, bellicose, and yet pervaded by the divine. The 130 splendidly selected examples of late classic (600-900 C.E.) stone and terra cotta sculpture, painted pottery, jade, and stucco shown in 328 illustrations (233 in color) serve as an extraordinary testament to this culture at its intellectual and aesthetic apogee. Although the catalog's entries are not given full-blown scholarly treatment, the absence of pedantry will be welcomed by most readers. Amateurs as well as academics will, however, be daunted or dismayed by the 13 overly condensed and under-illustrated mini-studies intended to introduce recent relevant discoveries. Overall, the intelligence of the main text and the excellent illustrations recommend this volume as a necessary addition to both art history and archaeology collections. [The traveling exhibition appears at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, through July, then at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. Ed.] Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This catalog accompanies an exhibition of elegant and informative art made for the elite class of the Maya court between 600 and 800 CE. Included are 130 pieces, approximately half from the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City. The rich and expansive text confirms the role of Miller (Yale Univ.) and Martin (Univ. of Pennsylvania) as two of the leading contemporary Maya scholars. The first six chapters present themes that detail all aspects of courtly life, including gods and goddesses on which the lives of court members were based, incised hieroglyphs, and well-defined royal images; they also examine the "Court at War." Palenque is named and described in vibrant detail as an "exemplary" Maya court. Chapter 3 is singular and a most welcome view of royal of women at court. Lady Xok of Yaxchilan and others are well treated, as are the divine models of female power including Ixchel or "Lady Rainbow." Chapter 7 is an unusual and exciting glimpse into current scholarship and is represented by 13 ranking Maya experts including Michael D. Coe and Merle Greene Robertson, among others. Sumptuous color plates (133) and figures (101, many in color) enhance this superb catalog. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. M. Watson University of Oklahoma