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Maya Script: The Civilization and Its Writing [Hardcover]

Maria Longhena
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Nov 2000 0789206536 978-0789206534 First Edition
This volume presents about 200 Maya glyphs (symbolic figures). Some are ideograms (pictorial symbols representing things, not words); others are phonetic signs. The glyphs express people, animals, things, and such abstract concepts as death. Each one opens a window onto fragments of everyday life, religious beliefs, or even emotions. The complexity of the Maya calendar, mathematical computations, and astronomy reveals a highly-developed civilization. This book also features two-colour drawings of the glyphs, illustrations from reliefs and Spanish codices, and examples of Maya sculpture and paintings. Concluding the book is a chapter on writing systems of the New World, a list of museums to visit, a bibliography, and an index of glyphs.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.; First Edition edition (23 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789206536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789206534
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,093,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother 11 July 2008
This book is written by someone with no understanding of the Maya. Not only are the glyphs innacurately drawn in many cases, the explanations of their meanings are equally poor. This book is a classic example of western thought structures being imposed on a culture that has a totally different outlook on life and the universe. The author didn't bother to ask the one group of people who could give her the real answers: the Maya themselves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic reference Book 1 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Don't expect a complete view of the Mayan language, just a snap shot of some of it - nevertheless a nice clear reference.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Much Fun 28 Sep 2011
Unlike the previous reviewer, I am in no position to judge the credentials of the book's author, or the validity of the author's work, except to note that there aren't too many Mayan representatives of the culture as it was 1000 years ago around now. (It is debatable how much their descendants can really tell us. How much does 21st century England tell you about how the Normans lived?)

The main fault with this book is that it essentially a dictionary, and reading it is about as edifying as reading any other dictionary. interesting in places, and dead dull in others, although the illustrations and picture do liven it up a bit. The blurb on the back suggests that it is suitable for the general reader, but I should have thought myself that it was more of an undergraduate text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short and simple 12 Sep 2002
By D. P. Birkett - Published on Amazon.com
This is up against a lot of competition. Maya civilization has attracted some excellent writers. For an enthralling acount of the decipherment I best liked Michael Coe's "Breaking the Maya Code." For a heavy duty textbook if you have time and dedication go to "Understanding Maya Inscriptions" by John F Harris and Stephen K Stearns, published by the University Museum of Archeology of the University of Pennsylvania. Longhena's book has the advantage of being short and straightforward. Even such a neophyte as myself noticed innacuracies. On page 14 the number thirteen is mislabelled as twenty-three.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice to look at but has errors 7 Jan 2001
By Paul V Caetano - Published on Amazon.com
This book is certainly well illlustrated, but I found a number of errors. Most were simply captions which had been switched between adjacent glyph illustrations. Therefore do not rely on the glyph identifications in this book. On the other hand, if you do not intend to try find any of the glyphs in real inscriptions, this may not be such a problem.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating linguistic tour 6 July 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Maria Longherna's Maya Script reviews the symbolic written characters of the ancient Maya of Mexico, providing a history of the script and about 200 glyphs and symbols taken from Maya artifacts. A fascinating linguistic tour.
4.0 out of 5 stars Some errors, but the pictures are fantastic. 5 Jan 2009
By Palmer Eldritch - Published on Amazon.com
As noted in other reviews, there are some errors in this book, but the pictures are fantastic. I looked through most of the Mayan script books in my university library to find nice large images for use as a reference for paintings, and this book was the best I found pictures-wise. I had it checked out consistently during my time at school.
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