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Lightning Warrior


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This study explores the integrated political-religious meanings of Quirigua's monumental sculptures during the eighth-century A.D. reign of the city's most famous ruler, K'ak' Tiliw.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Life at the Crossroads: Quirigua before K'ak' Tiliw
  • 2. A Restive Vassal: The Early Reign of K'ak' Tiliw
  • 3. Rebellion and Revival: The First Stelae of K'ak' Tiliw
  • 4. Dreams of Power: Stelae F, D, and E
  • 5. Foundation of the Cosmic House: Stelae C and A and Zoomorph B
  • 6. In Honor of a Great Warrior: The Legacy of K'ak' Tiliw
  • Appendix A. Rulers of Quirigua
  • Appendix B. Historical Events Recorded in the Texts of Quirigua
  • Appendix C. Selected Historical Events from the Texts of Copan
  • Appendix D. Transcriptions and Translations of the Monumental Inscriptions Commissioned by K'ak' Tiliw
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

About the Author

Matthew Looper is a professor of art and art history at California State University, Chico. His previous books include To Be Like Gods: Dance in Ancient Maya Civilization, winner of the 2010 Association for Latin American Art Book Award; Gifts of the Moon: Huipil Designs of the Ancient Maya; Lightning Warrior: Maya Art and Kingship at Quirigua; and, most recently, Wearing Culture: Dress, Regalia, and Adornment in Early Mesoamerica and Central America, co-edited with Heather Orr.


"This is a significant contribution to the field... Quirigua, although well-studied archaeologically, has not received this kind of single dedicated study of monuments... This is not because the site and its art are unimportant; as this study amply demonstrates, the artwork of the site is of great significance within the gamut of Classic Maya art." Rosemary A. Joyce, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley "This is a strange and powerful story based on impeccable scholarship, and compellingly told. It is one of the few academic books on the Maya that I would recommend to everyone."--New Scientist, 21 February 2004

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