Skip to Content

Man standing next to Stela K near the eastern border of the Great Plaza, Quiriguá, Guatemala, black-and-white glass negative. © The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license

3: Rescaling Reality: Size and Sumptuary Privilege

Vital Signs: The Visual Cultures of Maya Writing

A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts

  • Sunday, April 30, 2023
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium and Virtual
  • Talks
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

This is the third talk of the six-part series Vital Signs: The Visual Cultures of Maya Writing, presented by Stephen D. Houston of Brown University for the 72nd A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts.

Making something large or small confers practical and symbolic benefits. It enhances or reduces visibility; it makes grand or modest assertions about an image, text, or object; and it instates or undermines social privilege. Scale and size are useful for controlling such properties and the people they affect. Recently interpreted texts and images explain how the Maya used size and scale in small god effigies, towering monoliths, petite containers, and varying mortuary monuments.