The Popol Vuh: Creation Stories

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Each culture has its own historical and cultural identity that is forged from different aspects like its creation myths of how the world or the culture began. For the Ancient Egyptians their creation myth is detailed in pyramid texts, for Jews and Christians the creation narrative come from the first book in the Bible, Genesis, but for the Ancient Mayans (living in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras) their creation narrative comes from an ancient text, the Popol Vuh. The Popol Vuh, also known as the council book, is one of the most significant creation narratives that lays the foundation of the Mayan culture and traces the genealogy of the Mayan people. It is the foundation of the Quiche people with its creation narrative …show more content…
Similar to other creation narratives such as Christianity’s narrative where God created the world in the book of Genesis, the Popol Vuh begins with the forming of Earth by the Heart of Sky and Plumed Serpent, starting with the mountains, plains, and seas. “Then the mountains were separated from water, all at once the great mountains came forth” (Tedlock 66). Once the Gods created the World, the second element they created were the animals that were to live on the Earth. All the animals were placed as guardians to the different physical features, for example, “the guardians of the forest, creatures of the mountains: the deer, birds, pumas, jaguars, serpents, rattlesnakes” (Tedlock 66). However, what makes this Mayan narrative distinctive is that the Gods create 3 different kinds of beings to praise them before they get to human beings. The first beings the animals, the second were people of mud, and the third were people made of wood. Each being before lacked the proper makeup or abilities to be and do exactly what the Gods wanted. The Popol Vuh is a rare creation narrative that commences with the makings of the world, but diverges with the experimentation of creating 3 different beings before humans, who were made of corn dough. Once the humans are made the narrative talks about a very crucial …show more content…
This mythological history is unique in the fact that is shows the lineage of the Mayan culture beginning with the 4 heads of the Quiché and their wives: Jaguar Quitze and Red Sea Turtle found Cauec lineage, Jaguar Night and Prawn found Greathouse lineage, Not Right Now and Water Hummingbird found Quiche lineage, and Dark Jaguar and his wife found Lord Quiché lineage (Tedlock 44-45). By being able to trace the genealogy of the Mayan culture in the Popol Vuh and each lord is associated with a geographic location and a title which marks the beginning of human rule over the lands of the Earth. Nonetheless, paired with the lineage of the Quiché people is how their culture interacted with other cultures and what the influence culminated in. The Quiché people were influenced by the Europeans as show in the written Popol Vuh which is split into two parts. The first part is written in the Classical Quiché Language and the second part that dictates the lineage is written in the Latin alphabet because the original Mayan codex was lost in the 16th century. A friar named Francis Ximénez copied the text in 1701 and translated it into Spanish while in Santo Tomás Chichicastenango. This European influence is reflected in the translation of

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