This is the fifth 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.
We live in a world of constant movement, from daily walks to mass migrations. Our evolving sense of self arises from that motion, and the ancient Maya were no different. They created many arrested scenes, captured mid-stride but implying journeys short and long. Hieroglyphs described that flux, focusing on horizontal and vertical paths that, in mythic and cosmic form, gave pattern, meaning, and certainty to human acts.