From Classical antiquity to the present, tobacco has existed as a potent ritual substance. Tobacco use among the Maya straddles a recreational/ritual/medicinal nexus that can be difficult for Western audiences to understand. To best characterize the pervasive substance, this volume assembles scholars from a variety of disciplines and specialties to discuss tobacco in modern and ancient contexts. The chapters utilize research from archaeology, ethnography, mythic narrative, and chemical science from the eighth through the twenty-first centuries.
Breath and Smoke explores the uses of tobacco among the Maya of Central America, revealing tobacco as a key topic in pre-Columbian art, iconography, and hieroglyphics. By assessing and considering myths, imagery, hieroglyphic texts, and material goods, as well as modern practices and their somatic effects, this volume brings the Mayan world of the past into greater focus and sheds light on the practices of today.
From artifacts, hieroglyphs, and iconography to folk tales and oral histories, the study of tobacco facilitates a nuanced and sophisticated portrayal of ancient and contemporary Maya. . . . This collection rewards a close read.'--David Carey Jr., American Indian Culture and Research Journal
Academically demanding, this book maintains rigorous scholarship and is appropriate for Mayanists, specifically faculty, graduate students, and avocational readers.'--P. Sheets, Choice
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