Re-Creating Primordial Time
534 pages, 6 x 9
95 b&w photographs, 56 line drawings
Release Date:15 Oct 2013
$111.00 Back Order
Ships in 4-6 weeks.

Re-Creating Primordial Time

Foundation Rituals and Mythology in the Postclassic Maya Codices

University Press of Colorado
Re-Creating Primordial Time offers a new perspective on the Maya codices, documenting the extensive use of creation mythology and foundational rituals in the hieroglyphic texts and iconography of these important manuscripts. Focusing on both pre-Columbian codices and early colonial creation accounts, Vail and Hernández show that in spite of significant cultural change during the Postclassic and Colonial periods, the mythological traditions reveal significant continuity, beginning as far back as the Classic period. 

Remarkable similarities exist within the Maya tradition, even as new mythologies were introduced through contact with the Gulf Coast region and highland central Mexico. Vail and Hernández analyze the extant Maya codices within the context of later literary sources such as the Books of Chilam Balam, the Popol Vuh, and the Códice Chimalpopoca to present numerous examples highlighting the relationship among creation mythology, rituals, and lore. Compiling and comparing Maya creation mythology with that of the Borgia codices from highland central Mexico, Re-Creating Primordial Time is a significant contribution to the field of Mesoamerican studies and will be of interest to scholars of archaeology, linguistics, epigraphy, and comparative religions alike.
 ‘This book presents the very latest interpretation of several of the most important sections of the Maya codices by two of the foremost experts on the subject. It is a major step forward in codical research, pushing the boundaries of traditional categories and delving into the apparently very rich mythic content of these manuscripts, which are essentially divinatory in nature . . . an essential reference work not only for codical researchers but for all Mesoamericanists.’
—Matthew Looper, California State University, Chico
One should, perhaps, say a word about the importance of this work for sixteenth-century scholars. Anyone with a post-colonialist bent needs to become familiar with the mythology behind pre-Hispanic Maya- and Mexican- cultures, if only to understand the process of religious syncretism that took place once Christianity took over. In a series of appendices, Vail and Hernandez provide and thorough beginners introduction to the mythological dramatis personae and weave the information together in such a way as to make the highly complex codices less of a mystery...this attempt at a thematically based overview of the codices will long serve as the touchstone for future arguments.'
—James Ogier, Sixteenth Century Journal
Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernandez have contributed an important study about the Mayan codices and the related historiography...This book is highly recommended to researchers, students, and readers interested in Mayan cultures and associated codices.'
Colonial Latin American Historical Review
Vail and Herná­ndez's work will stimulate renewed discussion about the structure, contents, and fucntions of the Maya codices.'
—Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Journal of Anthropological Research
 Gabrielle Vail is a research scholar specializing in codical and pre-Columbian studies at New College of Florida and the author or coeditor of five books, including The Madrid Codex. Christine Hernández is the Curator of Special Collections at the Latin American Library at Tulane University and a Mesoamerican archaeologist who has published on topics ranging from Michoacan archaeology to pre-Columbian codices.
Find what you’re looking for...

30% off UBC Press books through May 31 using code ANYWHERE30 at checkout!

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Current Catalogue
Fall 2022 catalogue cover
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.