The archaeological record, as well as written texts, oral traditions, and iconographic representations, express the Maya perception of cosmic order, including the concepts of quadripartite division and layered cosmos. The ritual act of portioning and layering created spatial order and was used to organize everything from the heavens to the layout of altars. These acts were also metaphors for world creation, world order, and establishing the center as a position of power and authority. This article examines the articulations of these concepts from the level of caches to the level of regions from the past and present in an attempt to understand these ancient perceptions. We emphasize that basic organizational notions of the cosmos permeate all societal levels and argue that scholars should expand their focus to include how the sacred landscape and its related ideology were reproduced in the lives of everyday people.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Mathews, J. P., & Garber, J. F. (2004). Models of cosmic order: Physical expression of sacred space among the ancient Maya. Ancient Mesoamerica, 15, 49-59. doi: 10.1017/S0956536104151031