From my list on ancient Maya religion.
Who am I?
I’ve been fascinated by Maya religion since college—ever since I took my first class on Maya hieroglyphics at Tulane University. At first, I was drawn to the visuals accompanying the glyphs: women running ropes through their tongues, men holding hands with gods, and animals (spirits) wielding sacrificial knives. Then I began chasing the meanings of those visuals until I found myself specializing in ancient Maya mortuary behavior and receiving a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University. I am happy to say that I am still on the chase, having written or edited five books (with two more on the way). I hope you enjoy this list!
James' book list on ancient Maya religion
Why did James love this book?
The ancient Maya viewed many things that we would consider inert as animate: objects had agency, even personality. As a result, I often tell my students that the artifacts they hold were once alive. Unfortunately, I rarely have time to tell them just how they came to live—or how they died (sometimes violently). This fascinating book explores not only animism but also the ways in which artisans literally brought objects to life. Read this book and then go to an exhibit on the ancient Maya; then try to decide which things in the exhibit are still (technically) alive. The exercise may be disconcerting—but it will offer a completely different take on the museum experience.