Deciphering Ontologies: Divination and "Infinition" in Classic Maya Inscriptions


  • Alonso Zamora Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México



Maya Art, Long Count, Palenque, Maya Epigraphy, Ritual, Power, Divination, Infinition


In many forms, important trends of current anthropology, like the ontological turn, have been left aside in the analysis of the ancient artistic testimonies of the indigenous people of the Americas, thanks to the inevitable gap and lamentable misunderstandings between ethnology, archaeology and art history. In this text, we retake the notion of "infinition", a term coined by Martin Holbraad in his work about Cuban divination, Truth in Motion (2012), to explore two epigraphic and artistic testimonies from the courts of the Classic Maya period (ad 250-900) and see how what has been seen as mere calendarical manipulation by scheming rulers and elites can be read as ritual acts of divination which created new identities, altered the ontological constitution of their participants and challenged the boundaries of human (and divine) time and space. By reading Maya art à la Roy Wagner, that is, as invention, we want to encourage the very much needed criticism of the tired notion of "justification of power" that seems to pervade Maya Art interpretation among archaeologists and epigraphists.


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Como Citar

Zamora, A. (2016). Deciphering Ontologies: Divination and "Infinition" in Classic Maya Inscriptions. Revista De Antropologia, 59(3), 73-89.



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