The Social Context of <i>Kakaw</i> Drinking Among of the Ancient Maya

Edited by Dorie Reents-Budet

in Chocolate in Mesoamerica

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780813029535
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039503 | DOI:
The Social Context of Kakaw Drinking Among of the Ancient Maya

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This chapter discusses the social context that surrounded cacao drinking during the ancient Maya period. Cacao was both prized delicious food and a repository of financial strength in the Classic Maya society. Among the ruling elite of the Mayan culture, cacao and cacao-drinking were tightly associated with the fundamental political processes of alliance formation and socioeconomic enrichment. This relationship between cacao and social process in the Maya culture were discerned from the pictorial representations found on Classic Maya pottery used for feasting events. By the Early Classic period, feasts under the control of the ruling elite became an important social, political and economic mechanism. In the Classic Maya culture, cacao, politics and economics formed a formidable relationship in the never-ending pursuit for social prestige, political influence and economic power.

Keywords: social context; cacao drinking; ancient Maya; Classic Maya society; social process; social mechanism; political mechanism; economic mechanism; politics; economics

Chapter.  6166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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