This is the fourth 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.
The stillness of art is violated by its own content. Despite their innate quiet, Maya images and texts shake with noise. They run wild with cries, groans, and grunts; they evoke sonorous speech, song, and prayer. Some occur as glyphic texts, others as marks of vocalization or the physical remnants and portrayals of musical instruments. Silence is itself suppressed by traces of loud sound from the Maya.