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Estudios de cultura maya

versión impresa ISSN 0185-2574


MAZA GARCIA DE ALBA, Rocío. Pisom q’aq’al: the bundled majesty. Power, relics, and the "power of relics" among the prehispanic maya. Estud. cult. maya [online]. 2019, vol.53, pp.173-204. ISSN 0185-2574.

Ancient Maya used to preserve relics, commonly wrapped in sacred bundles. Archaeological and historical sources allow us to know the mortuary treatments which led to obtain those relics, the different contexts in which they were placed and the social uses to which they were destined. I distinguish between three types of relics: domestic relics related to a lineage; those of gods or founding ancestors of a community, and those of the sacrificed and captives, associated with war trophies. Their joint analysis provides important information regarding Maya conceptions about ancestors, personhood and authority, which explain the ritual importance of relics, the meanings available in them and their role in legitimating power. The name of the sacred bundle left by Quiche founders, the pisom q’aq’al -bundled majesty-, to think that relics were preserved and venerated because they held a certain “fire”, q’aq’, or “majesty”, q’aq’al, whose characteristics can be identified with a vital force or soul component, which increases by the exercise of authority that ethnographers and linguists have recorded under various names. Among them are derived forms of q’aq’al in Quiché, Cakchiquel and Tzotzil, and k’inam in Yucatec which seem to be closely related with the classical k’ihnich by its fiery, fierce and solar qualities.

Palabras llave : Maya; relics; authority; sacred bundles; k’inam; pisom q’aq’al.

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