Sample Essay on:
Carrasco/Religions of Mesoamerica

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Essay / Research Paper Abstract

A 6 page research paper that addresses David Carrasco's book Religions of Mesoamerica. The writer looks at how the author describes and uses the framework of worldmaking, worldcentering and worldrenewing to explain Mesoamerican religious practice. No additional sources cited.

Page Count:

6 pages (~225 words per page)

File: D0_khmeso.rtf

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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:

that describes the Mesoamerican worldview. First of all, worldmaking refers to creation mythology that pictures the origin of the world and cosmos. However, rather than being a story that has a definitive end, Mesoamerican culture gives human beings an integral role, as it is thorough human intervention that the world becomes centered, which occurs "through the work of sacred specialists and royal lineages" (Carrasco 22). As this suggests, completing and continuing the process of creation is a continual process in the Mesoamerican view--"...just as the cosmos was made (sunrise) and centered (sun-path) through sacrifice, so it is renewed through daily, weekly, months and yearly sacrifices" (Carrasco 23). Mesoamerican customs demonstrate the manner in which these three concepts are completely intertwined. For example, the "sacred ball court" (tlachco) in Nahuatl, (Pok-ta-pok in Maya) was a game played throughout Mesoamerica and it was also a form of religious expression (Carrasco 35). The courts are designed as a stylized representation of the four-quartered universe, which are joined by a central or fifth region (Carrasco 35). Therefore, the court and the game constitute a "cosmogram (image of the cosmos)" as well as a religious drama (Carrasco 35). In the Aztec culture, the court represented the "narrow passageway of the underworld through which the sun traveled at night" (Carrasco 35). The game was viewed as a representation of a cosmic struggle in which the players competed to see which faction would succeeded in bringing back the sun from the underworld by hitting the ball through one of the two perforated rings on the sides of the court. The sacrifice of the losing player probably also had religious significance in the rebirth of the sun (Carrasco 35). As this illustrates, worldmaking is shown in the way that the custom refers to the creation ...

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