Hand gestures in courtly scenes depicted on Maya vases

  • Monika Ciura
Keywords: Maya vases, ceramics, royal court, courtly culture, gestures, language of gestures, epigraphy, iconography


Images created on Maya ceramics represent an interesting source for the research on Maya royal court. Many scenes shows life of the Maya nobles, their activities in the court and intimate rituals of the rulers. In this work I focused on one aspect of the interactions between king and his courtiers and subjects, that is on gestures they perform. I studied all the gestures that appears on the vases to understand the patterns of their usage and their possible meaning. I tried to discover their importance in communication, their significance in iconography and analyze a body language hidden behind them. I also compared twenty classified gestures to ones depicted on monumental sculpture, figurines and epigraphy. My research revealed the great complexity of the subject but it also helped to shed some light on the relations prevailing at the royal court.


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How to Cite
Ciura, M. (2015). Hand gestures in courtly scenes depicted on Maya vases. Estudios Latinoamericanos, 35, 5-32. https://doi.org/10.36447/Estudios2015.v35.art1