Lords of Creation

The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship

Virginia M. Fields and Dorie Reents-Budet

    ISBN: 978 1 85759 386 0

    Size: 293 x 241 mm / 9.5 x 11.5

    Binding: Hardback

    Pages: 288

    In association with:

    Date published: September, 2005

    UK £35 /US $60


  • Published to accompany the exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Fully illustrated with over 200 glorious images


Divinely sanctioned kingship is found among ancient civilisations throughout the world, including Asia, West Africa and Europe, but it has been a largely unexplored process in ancient Mesoamerica. Sacred kings, who played key roles in the emergence of complex urban society, first appeared among the Olmec on the Gulf Coast of Mexico around 900 BC, but the full flowering of this phenomenon subsequently occurred in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and western Honduras among the most brilliant of the New World civilisations: The Maya. Published to accompany the exhibition opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in September 2005, then travelling to the Dallas Museum of Art in February 2006 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in June 2006, this superb book breaks new ground in documenting the development and exploring the manifestations of royal authority among the ancient Maya as well as their descendants, as revealed by the religious beliefs and ceremonies of the Maya today. Drawing on the most current archaeological, epigraphic and art-historical research of an impressive roster of Maya scholars, Lords of Creation addresses specific aspects of the central historical issues and seminal artworks that exemplify the primary characteristic of Maya divine kingship: the capacity of rulers to intercede between gods and men.

Author information

Virginia M. Fields (1952-2011) was senior curator and co-department head of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Dorie Reents-Budet is research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.