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Estudios de cultura maya

versión impresa ISSN 0185-2574


NAJERA CORONADO, Martha Ilia. The Ritual Language of Fire among the Maya of the Classic Period: An Approach. Estud. cult. maya [online]. 2019, vol.54, pp.91-127. ISSN 0185-2574.

The symbolic value of fire is polysemic, although it is mainly a temporary marker and, therefore, lights up at liminal moments, such as the rise of a ruler, in the inauguration of a place or an object in order to make them become sacred; in moments of communication with ancient rulers, and in the foundation of a city. In fact, what was sought was the recreation of cosmogonic myth in order to regenerate the world.

This article aims to show, based on the comparative history of religions, some of the main fire rituals developed in different sites of the Maya area, during the Classic period. Also, through a comparative analysis, it pretends to find models that allow us to understand its meaning, taking similarities and differences into account. These rituals were carried out by the nobility and have been preserved in different images and inscriptions in numerous sites of the Maya area. Although fire rituals are mentioned in many research papers, the data is scattered and its true meaning could be lost. Thus, in this first publication, the aim is to combine and integrate some data on pyrolatry practiced by the Maya; therefore, it will only deal with specific topics such as the myths of the recreation of fire, the ceremonies to light it, the rituals of fire in caves, the introduction of fire in different spaces, buildings, tombs, and their possible symbolic significance.

Palabras llave : Fire cult; fire myths; power rituals; ceremonies to light fire; communication with ancestors.

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