The Tzutujil Mayas: Continuity and Change, 1250-1630

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Author: Orellana, Sandra Lee (1941- )

Year: 1984

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press

Place: Norman


xvi+287 pages with illustrations, maps, tables, bibliography and index. Royal octavo (9 1/2" x 6 1/2") issued in brown with black and white lettering to spine. Civilization of Amrican Indian Series volume 162. 1st edition.

The Tzutujils were one of the major Maya groups of the volcano-dotted southern highlands of Guatemala. In pre-Hispanic times they lived in towns around Lake Atitlan and owned lucrative cacao plantations along the Pacific Coast. In this account anthropologist Sandra Orellana reconstructs their culture in aboriginal times and examines the profound changes wrought by the Conquest. She describes how Tzutujil society responded to confrontation with an alien culture in what must have been one of the most dramatic instances of culture contact ever recorded. Part one, dealing with aboriginal Tzutujil culture, is based on archaeological and documentary information and survivals observed by the author during several seasons of fieldwork in the region. Part Two, covering the Conquest and early colonial periods, is reconstructed from written and ethnographic sources in Guatemala and in Spain. Much of the material was gathered in modern-day Tzutujil towns, particularly Santiago Atitlan, where, despite the centuries, strong elements of pre-Hispanic culture remain. The aboriginal Tzutujils had a complex hierarchic social structure, with a ruling caste that maintained relations with their Cakchiquel and Quiche neighbors in shifting patterns of power, influence, and military alliance. Then the Spaniards swept in, imposing their own complex of military, church and civil structures. The proud, populous Tzutjuils were reduced to tribute payers and slave laborers, wracked by Old World diseases, their noble lines brought down to peasantry, their population decimated. Yet de4spite the Mayas' enforced accommodation to the Europeans' culture, Spanish segregation policies made it possible for them to preserve some elements of their native culture in the remote highlands. Many of these cultural survivals are evident in the lake town today and are described in the pages of this book. The confrontation of the Tzutujil Mayas and the Spaniards is not only a primary example of acculturation but also a revealing account of conquest and native response in the New World.


Jacket creased at heal edge else a near fine copy in like jacket.

SOLD 2015

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