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Estudios de cultura maya

versión impresa ISSN 0185-2574


FRUHSORGE, Lars. Sowing the Stone: Sacred Geography and Cultural Continuity. Economy among the Highland Maya of Guatemala. Estud. cult. maya [online]. 2015, vol.45, pp.171-189. ISSN 0185-2574.

The functions of Classic Maya stelae as political monuments and as con- tainers for the "spiritual essence" of rulers are well known. In contrast, it has hardly been recognized that a similar ceremonial use of stones survived among the Highland Maya of Guatemala throughout the Postclassic and Colonial period into modern times. According to colonial sources the "souls" of deceased rulers were conserved in portable stones and guarded by high-ranking officials. Royal burial ceremonies included the erection of stone images representing the departed rulers as part of a sacred geography. Even among the modern Maya there is ritual featuring the "sowing" of a stone in a natural location which becomes linked to the life-force of a person. In a similar way different stone features -both natural and artificial- continue to play a role in various ceremonies related to the economic well-being or the demarcation of territories between competing communities.

Palabras llave : stela; ancestor worship; cultural continuity; Guatemala; sacred geography.

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