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Dancing into Dreams

Maya Vase Painting of the Ik' Kingdom

Bryan Just, Princeton University Art Museum (Other primary creator)


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Dancing into Dreams explores 8th-century Maya vase painting of the Ik' kingdom, located in the tropical lowlands of present day Guatemala. Ik' vases are acclaimed for their naturalistic color, veristic portraiture, and calligraphic line. Their painted surfaces depict historical subject matter and often include the names of the artists and patrons, as well as hieroglyphic explanations of the portrayed events and vessel production. Collectively, such self-consciously historical works offer a precision and nuance, unparalleled in the ancient Americas, to the study of the role of art in elite society.

Authoritative and accessible, this handsomely illustrated volume presents a history of Ik' vase painting and describes the dramatic scenes represented on the vases with compelling and historically accurate vignettes.

Praise For Dancing into Dreams: Maya Vase Painting of the Ik' Kingdom

“Curator and author Bryan Just, whose enthusiasm for the technical and aesthetic achievements of ancient Maya artists is palpable, has crafted a superb piece of scholarship that draws upon the most current epigraphic and archaeological knowledge and is both accessible to the layperson and of great value to the specialist. . . . The end result is a text that finds a harmonious balance between the rigor and substance of scholarly analysis and the relatable immediacy of a flowing story.”—Andrew Finegold, CAA Reviews
— Andrew Finegold

Princeton University Art Museum, 9780300174380, 252pp.

Publication Date: October 30, 2012

About the Author

Bryan R. Just is the Peter Jay Sharp, Class of 1952, Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas at the Princeton University Art Museum.