Posted by: Johan Normark | May 3, 2010

Fiery Pool

In relation to my interest in water as archaeological material it is interesting that my former external thesis advisor Stephen Houston has put together an exhibition called Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea. This will be accompanied by an upcoming book on Maya and water: “Surrounded by the sea in all directions, the ancient Maya viewed their world as inextricably tied to water. More than a necessity to sustain life, water was the vital medium from which the world emerged, gods arose and ancestors communicated. Over 90 works, many never before seen, offer exciting new insights into Maya culture that focus on the sea as a defining feature of the spiritual realm and the inspiration for the finest works of art.” The exhibition (and presumably the book) covers these themes: water and cosmos, creatures of the fiery pool, navigating the cosmos, and birth to rebirth. These are themes similar to the ones Terje Oestigaard covers in other parts of the world.

From what I wrote in my latest blog post on ideology, my interest in water takes a different direction (which includes the perspectives above within greater assemblages). I have decided to study water from five “ands”: water and the somatic, water and material objects, water and the striating State, water and land, and water and smoothening processes.




  1. Hi Johan – I just happened to see that Maya exhibit a few days ago (at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.) and was very impressed with it. Very well done. Your approach to water sounds quite interesting too – I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. And thanks for the Oestigaard reference – he has a great site.

  2. Unfortunately I will not be able to see the exhibition, I will have to wait for Steve’s book. As for my approach to water, do you know anyone who has written about water from an immanent perspective?

  3. This May My Family Went to Isla De Meujeres.My Daughter And I Were In A Boat South Of Templo Ixchel On Easternmost Point,There Was Light Emenating From The Sea.Ixchel Is Called Lady Rainbow,Sacred Feminine Translucent Light.
    Itz Lds But A Good Article.Dreams Of Water

  4. I read that article a few years ago and it makes an interesting interpretation of the statement that the conquistadors came from “the other side of the sea.” They may not have meant the other side of the Atlantic but the sea here refers to the Underworld (where diseases come from).

    I have only been to Isla Mujeres once (1997). Already back then it was crowded with tourists. I wonder how it is today.

  5. A Trampa De Tourista For Sure.I See You’ve Been To Holbox Must Have Been Nice.

  6. I will post something on Isla Holbox once the pictures from the waterproof camera has been developed. I took some pictures of a whale shark but have no idea how they turned out yet.


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