Popul Vuh

Also found in: Dictionary.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Popul Vuh


(in the Quiché language, Book of Counsel; in a broader sense, Book of the People), a classic of ancient American Indian literature.

The Popul Vuh, the sacred epic of the Quiché people of Guatemala, took form before the European colonization of America. The extant version was written down in the mid-16th century by an unknown Quich é Indian in his native language, using the Latin alphabet. This version was copied and translated into Spanish in the late 16th century by the Dominican monk F. Ximénez.

The work, written in rhythmic prose, is based on the mythical legends and historical traditions of the Quiché Indians and includes genealogical lists of noble families. The formation of the early class system of the Quich é Indians before the Conquest is reflected in the Popul Vuh. The first scholarly edition of the work, which utilized Ximénez’ manuscript, was published in French by C. É. Brasseur de Bourbourg (1861). A free translation into Russian was published by K. D. Bal’mont in the book Snake Flowers (1910).


Schultze-Jena, L. Popol-Vuh. Stuttgart-Berlin, 1944.
In Russian translation:
Popol’-Vukh. Edition prepared by R. V. Kinzhalov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959. (Translated from Quiché.)


Giraro, R. El Popol-Vuh: fuente histórica. Guatemala City, 1952.
Giraro, R. Le Popol-Vuh: Histoire culturelle des Maya-quiches Paris, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Popul Vuh

“Book of the People”, sacred book of certain Mayan tribes. [Mayan Religion: NCE 2191]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
When the panning shot of the mountain is taken we hear the music of the electronic band Popul Vuh extra-diegetically.
According to their sacred books, the Popul Vuh and the Chilam Balaam, they are actually made from maiz.
Almanac is modeled in part on the Mayan codices as well as the Popul Vuh, the sixteenth-century text that linked mythic and historical time, as well as past and present events, to support Mayan land claims.
The childlike directness of these earnestly painted "copies" belies their hauntingly symbolic ethos, often underscored by a text that invariably accompanies each one: a color "Translation" of a black-and-white photo taken from a 1944 University of Montana yearbook, accompanied by excerpts from Popul Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya; the image from an article devoted to pumpkins in a government-issue horticulture brochure that Jess found on the sidewalk, accompanied by Abbe Noel Antoine Pluche's Histoire du ciel considere selon les idees des poetes, des philosophes, et de Moise (1748); or a souvenir postcard of Sarah Winchester, the eccentric widow of the rifle tycoon, accompanied by a Gaelic incantation.
In fact, the Popul Vuh, the equivalent of the Maya Bible, claims the first man was made from tender kernels of yellow and white corn.
Similarly, Ramon Ordonez y Aguiar posited the Mayan ruined city of Palenque had been a multiethnic international commercial hub bearing Moorish, Roman, Hebrew, and Egyptian influence; in addition it could be identified as the biblical city of Ophir (he also sought to prove the Maya Popul Vuh was a distorted copy of the Pentateuch).
Documents include the Popul Vuh of the Mayans, the Life of Black Hawk and Las Casas' Destruction of the Indies.
Documents include the Popul Vuh of the Mayans, the Life of Black Hawk, and Las Casas' Destruction of the Indies.
Dellia Goetz and Sylvanus Morely, Popul Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Maya, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1950.