72 pages 2 hours read


Popol Vuh

Nonfiction | Scripture | Adult | Published in 1554

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PreambleChapter Summaries & Analyses

“The Creation of the Mud People” Summary

The authors of Popol Vuh state that the following pages consist of the origin stories of the Quiché people, otherwise known as the Maya population prior to the Spanish conquest of Latin America. The original authors “hide their faces” (36) to elide persecution from the Spanish for attempting to preserve Quiché stories and traditions in the Popol Vuh. The Popol Vuh is written “under the law of God and Christianity” (55), which places the book at the time of Spanish conquest and Christian missionary presence. The translator of this edition of Popol Vuh, Allen J. Christenson states that despite this note, few Christian and Spanish-derived words appear in the book, suggesting that the original authors attempted to preserve as much pre-Columbian cosmology and history as possible.

In Popol Vuh, there are three pairs of deities who go by various names throughout the text, and who are responsible for shaping the world: the Framer and the Shaper, Sovereign and Quetzal Serpent, and Xpiyacoc and Xmucane. These deities plan the creation of the world by first measuring four sides and four corners of the earth and sky, then placing stakes in the ground to mark their boundaries.