Synopses & Reviews
In this thought-provoking book, preeminent scholar Stephen Houston turns his attention to the crucial role of young males in Classic Maya society, drawing on evidence from art, writing, and material culture. The Gifted Passage establishes that adolescent men in Maya art were both subjects and makers of hieroglyphics, painted ceramics, and murals, posing broader questions about the construction of masculinity in Maya civilization. The political volatility of the Classic Maya period gave male adolescents valuable status as potential heirs, and many of the most precious surviving ceramics likely celebrated their coming-of-age rituals. The ardent hope was that youths would grow into effective kings and noblemen, capable of leadership in battle and service in royal courts. Aiming to shift mainstream conceptions of the Maya, Houston argues that adolescent men are not simply present in images and texts, but central to both.
A preeminent scholar of Maya art and language focuses on the central role of adolescent men in text and images, a topic that has broad implications for the understanding of Maya civilization.