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Genesis and Evolution of the Female Figure in the Popol Vuh by Dora Luz Cobián, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Genesis and Evolution of the Female Figure in the Popol Vuh by Dora Luz Cobián, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genesis and Evolution of the Female Figure in the Popol Vuh by Dora Luz Cobián, Ph.D.

2 POPOL VUH: Book of Counsel –Is the “Bible” of the Maya-Quiche people of Guatemala. Creation –Speaks of the creation of the Cavec people of Guatemala, from the beginning of time to + 1558 during the Spanish conquest of the Maya-quiche people. Myths –Portrays the myths and legends Of their Gods & Goddesses. History –It is an account Of their social evolution, economic development, and historical events (celebrations and wars).

3 Premise: of Genesis and Evolution of the Female Figure Women play a very important role in Maya-quiche society. One half the text describes women in their positions of power. The development of Maya-quiche society is portrayed along side the society’s economic development –creation, horticulture, incipient agriculture, advanced agriculture, excess production, accumulation of wealth, conquest. The role and power of women in Maya-quiche society has a descending effect in the society presented in the Popol Vuh. This is shown in the type of society and the lineage lines. –Matriarchy/Matrilineal…Patriarchy/Patrilineal The nomenclature of the women depicts their function and status in Maya-Quiche society.

4 Creation Ixmucane Ixpiyacoc | Gathering Xibalba Vucub-Hunahpu Hun-Hunahpu Ixbaquiyalo* Vucub-Caquix Chimalmat Deity { | | || Horticulture Ixquic** Humbatz Huenchoen Zipacna Cabracan | | Incipient Hunahpu Ixbalanque Agriculture First 4 men and their “women” Advance | | | | | | | | Agriculture | | | |¯¯¯| |¯¯¯| |¯¯¯| Excess Times of the “damsels” Production |¯¯¯| |¯¯¯| |¯¯¯| AccumulationTimes of the “daughters and sisters” of Wealth ConquestWomen are no longer mentioned in text *Ixbaquiyalo is part of Ixmucane’s Klan **Ixquic is part of the Klan of Xibalba Note: The horizontal order of the characters signifies that they lived in the same generation. Genealogical Tree of the Cavec Family

5 Diagonal Descent of the Power of Women in the Society of the Popol Vuh Creation IxmucaneMatriarchy Gathering Ixmucane IxbaquiyaloMatrilineal Matriarchy Horticulture IxmucanePatrilineal Matriarchy Ixquic Incipient Agriculture Ixbalanque & Hunahpu Transition to Patriarchy Advanced Agriculture First human men Patriarchy in power Excess Production Agreeable & Desirable Male descendants Patrilineal Patriarchy Accumulation of WealthSisters and daughters Male lineage continues

6 Theoretical Analysis a Feminist Perspective The discussion of the mentioned factors in this work permits us to see the dynamic relationship that exists between the different characters within the narrative. Applying to the study of the Popol Vuh the theoretical elements that are part of feminist criticism I have managed to trace a graphic chart that permits us to place in order a series of conclusions that are the result of the application of such model. Concretely the model has demonstrated that: Within the Maya-Quiche society presented in the Popol Vuh, the woman played a primary role especially in the initial stages of the development of the quiche civilization. This aspect has been continually neglected by the critics;

7 The status of the woman suffered a descending trajectory that took the woman from a position of goddess to one of commercial object. This descent is more clearly illustrated by the loss of rank of the functions that she fulfilled in different moments, because of the loss of power as a leader in society, and because of the loss of the importance of her function as procreator; closelyThe descent of the status of woman is not only closely linked to the economic development of the Maya-Quiche nation but also, it is the result of profound changes in the socio-economic structures that caused the passing from a collective society to a class structure, and from the alliance between women to a scenario of conflict and lack of solidarity among them;

8 The female figure occupies a central place in the identification of the different social structures undergone by the Maya-Quiche society. It is for example linked to the change from matrilineal matriarchy to patrilineal matriarchy and, finally to patrilineal patriarchy; Contrary to what critics hold, Ixbalanqué needs to be understood as a female character, a fact of vital importance for the understanding of the text, of the economy of the quiche-maya society and of the development of the female figure, in itself. If this interpretation is not accepted in regards to the gender of Ixbalanqué one must come to accept a grave inconsistency within the text in the sense that she is part of the generational line of the female figure in the Popol Vuh.

9 If Ixbalanqué is a male character it means that there exists in the narrative and in history a rupture and a gap that would be belied by a multitude of textual factors, among them the symbolism associated with her name and function. The nomenclature, point of departure and vertebral column of this work, is the element that best illustrates and explains the role of the female characters within the narrative and the trajectory that they followed to the end of their descent.


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