Maya shell trumpets : a musical instrument as ritual implement

dc.contributor.advisorBourget, Steve, 1956-
dc.creatorBézy, Phillippe
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the ritual use of Precolumbian Maya shell trumpets. It adds to the current understanding of these objects by clearly defining what exactly constitutes a shell trumpet, both in actuality and in ancient iconographic representations. A corpus has also been compiled, and while not exhaustive, it is the largest such compilation to date, it also adds previously unrecognized shell trumpets to extant. In elucidating the role the shell trumpets played in ritual, a variety of contexts are considered. First, shell trumpets are actual wind instruments found in three main archaeological contexts, burials, cache/fill and cenote offerings. These depositions are linked with conceptual approaches related to ritual use. The ancient Maya also chose to repeatedly depict the shell trumpet iconographically in a variety of media. The shells are here also viewed in their biological aspect because the Maya frequently demonstrated their awareness, and conscious choice, of certain species over others. Ultimately, this thesis suggests the existence of a conceptual link between the shell trumpet and a general understanding of transition and passage between states of existence or realms. The archaeological record and the iconography support these findings. A clear distinction is made between the playing of the shell trumpet and its simple presence. In the case of the former, the sound of the trumpet indicates a specific ritual moment (or transition, etc.), while in the later, the presence of the trumpet signals the generalized sacred aspect. The fact that the selected species of shell may be linked with directional and color symbolism validates the association with liminalityen_US
dc.description.departmentArt Historyen_US
dc.relation.ispartofUT Electronic Theses and Dissertationsen_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.en_US
dc.subjectPrecolumbian Mayaen_US
dc.subjectShell trumpetsen_US
dc.subjectRitual implementsen_US
dc.titleMaya shell trumpets : a musical instrument as ritual implementen_US
dc.type.genreThesisen_US Historyen_US Historyen_US of Texas at Austinen_US of Artsen_US

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