Depiction of animals in the Popol Vuh and current Mayan folktales

Fredy R. Rodríguez-Mejía, James D. Sexton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The way humans interact with their environment has interested anthropologists since the field's early years. This relationship has created significant distinctions between cultural groups. One people, the Maya, have produced a large corpus of evidence of both past and current human-environmental interaction. Ceramic designs, murals, sculptures, and even oral narratives of the Maya illustrate their perception of the natural world and the other beings that inhabit it. This paper presents an overview of how their relationship to animals, in particular, is represented first in current Mayan folktales, and then through the narratives documented in the Popol Vuh. The comparison shows that although animals are somewhat differently represented in these two contexts, traces of the animals' mythological importance in the past are still present in some of the accounts of Mayan narratives collected in the present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalLatin American Indian Literatures Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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