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Mesoamerican FigurinesSmall-Scale Indices of Large-Scale Social Phenomena$
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Christina T. Halperin, Katherine A. Faust, Rhonda Taube, and Aurore Giguet

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033303

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033303.001.0001

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The Beautiful, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Beautiful, the Bad, and the Ugly

Aesthetics and Morality in Maya Figurines

(p.236) 9 The Beautiful, the Bad, and the Ugly
Mesoamerican Figurines

Rhonda Taube

Karl Taube

University Press of Florida

While the notion of aesthetics in European philosophy accounts for a branch of metaphysics that encompasses the laws of refined visual taste, these are comparable to Maya notions of visually pleasing things as seen in the Classic period. The Maya concept of aesthetics gives fundamental attention to how their figurines are interpreted. Utilizing a visual paradigm in small-scale art works is appropriate for examining Maya notions of representation since this would entail diverse associated ideas and meanings. While sight is recognized as a tangible phenomenon among the Pre-Classic Maya, the Maya “gaze” is still perceived to be a concrete experience. The ruler's being in Classic Maya is an expression of a physical ideal, flawless beauty, youthfulness, elegant gestures, control, and nobility.

Keywords:   refined visual taste, Pre-Classic Maya, Maya gaze, physical ideal, nobility, visual paradigm, Classic period

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