Kunst und Religion der Mayavölker
Publisher: Verlag von Julius Springer
3 volumes: 234+[2 ad] pages with 53 plates; 44 pages with figures and 24 plates; 52 pages with 73 plates (one foldout) and bibliography. Royal octavo (10" x6 3/4") bound in stiff boards with pictorial covers and dark brown lettering to spines and covers. First editions.
Erwin Paul Dieseldorff was something of a renaissance man for the Alta Verapaz. Born in Hamburg, he emigrated to Guatemala at the age of twenty to join his uncle and cousin, who had established themselves as merchants and coffee planters some years before. Shortly after his arrival he volunteered to accompany a German cartographer who was mapping out the Verapaz, and while traipsing around its mountains and valleys he acquired an intimate knowledge of the lay of the land. The two Germans also explored caves and excavated Mayan burial sites, which sparked in Dieseldorff a lifelong interest in archaeology and ethnology. In addition to his business ventures (which came to include the largest department store in Coban), Dieseldorff was equally devoted to his intellectual pursuits. His excavations on his own and neighboring fincas yielded a number of polychrome vessels whose hieroglyphics he studied for many years, comparing them to features found in Mayan codices. As his interest in Mayan studies grew, he collected everything he could find that had been published on the subject of Mayan art, culture, and religion, and he journeyed to the major Mayan archaeological sites in Guatemala and Honduras to inspect them first hand. He published numerous papers on archaeology in scholarly journals, culminating in his three-volume Kunst und Religion de Mayavölker (Berlin 1926). In the later 20's and 30's he began analyzing the Mayan and Aztecan calendar systems, working out his own calculations and unorthodox theories, which he published in archaeological journals in Germany, Guatemala, and the United States. He came to be a respected researcher in Mayanist circles and his own extensive collection of Mayan artifacts now resides in the Museo Archaeologico Nacional in Guatemala City.
Corners bumped, spine ends rubbed, lightly soiled else very good copies.
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