logo

72 pages 2 hours read

Anonymous

Popol Vuh

Nonfiction | Scripture | Adult | Published in 1554

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Symbols & Motifs

Maize

The cultivation of maize is an important symbol of creation throughout the Popol Vuh. Before the earth is formally made, the Framer and the Shaper measure the four corners and sides of the earth in preparation for creation. Their method of measurement emulates the practice of maize cultivation. In descriptions of this preparation, the Popol Vuh calls the process the “germination of all the sky and earth—its four corners and its four sides” and “All then was measured and staked out into four divisions, doubling over and stretching the measuring cords of the womb of sky and the womb of earth” (56). In this passage, the language of creation and maize cultivation collide. According to Christenson, this overlap is intentional, given what is known about Quiché relationship with the maizefield as a divinatory space where creation can occur.

Maize also plays a significant role in the creation of the first successful people. In earlier attempts to create god-worshipping people, the use of mud and wood are unsuccessful. When the gods discover maize, they are delighted to know that it is suitable material to create human flesh and shape it to the container that they desire.

Oftentimes, the enchantment of maize reveals information concerning life and death.

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 72 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools