Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of War and Sacrifice
Here is one of the most important surviving works of pre-Columbian civilization, Rabinal Achi, a Mayan drama set a century before the arrival of the Spanish, produced by the translator of the best selling Popol Vuh. The first direct translation into English from Quich? Maya, based on the original text, Rabinal Achi is the story of city-states, war, and nobility, of diplomacy, mysticism, and psychic journeys. Cawek of the Forest People has been captured by Man of Rabinal, who serves a ruler named Lord Five Thunder. Cawek is a renegade, a warrior who has inflicted much suffering on Rabinal. Yet he is also the son of the lord of the allied city of Quich?--a noble who once fought alongside Man of Rabinal. The drama presents the confrontation between the two during the trial of Cawek, who defies his captors and proudly accepts death by beheading. Dennis Tedlock's translation is clear and vivid; more than that, it is rooted in an understanding of how the play is actually performed. Despite being banned for centuries by Spanish authorities, it survived in actual practice, and is still performed in the town of Rabinal today. Tedlock's photographs and diagrams accompany the text, capturing nuances not apparent in the dialogue alone. He also provides an introduction and commentary that explain the historical events compressed into the play, the Spanish influence on the Mayan dramatic tradition, and the cultural and religious world preserved in this remarkable play. Rabinal Achi ranks as a classic of Mayan literature--and a rare window on a world that had yet to be invaded by Europeans. Dennis Tedlock brings this drama to life in all its richness.
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actors Ajaw ax and shield B’alam bench Bonampak Brasseur Brave man Cawek Breton Cakchiquel calabash Carlomagno Cawek CAWEK and RABINAL Cawuks Chajul characters Coloch couplet Cubulco dance dancers dialogue divinatory drink Eagle and Jaguar face fanfare figure FOREST PEOPLE speaks fortress inside front Guatemala henequen Jaguar K’iche kilometers liege lineage lines Lord Five Thunder Lord’s Mace manuscript Maya Mayan Mayan languages meaning Mesoamerica Mother of Quetzal Nahuatl Palenque Pérez performance play’s Popol Vuh Poqomchi prisoner Quetzal Feathers Quicab Quiché Quiché kingdom Quiché Mountain Quiché town Quiché Valley Rabinal Achi Rabinal nation Rabinal play Rabinal speaks Rabinal’s Red Mountain referring role say my words scepter script Sky and Earth Sky before Earth sky navel Slave slit drum Spanish speech stage story Tedlock term Totonicapán town center translation tree trumpets Ulew upraised ax verb walls warriors words before Sky Ximénez Xolop Yaxchilán