Rabinal Achí

(GUATEMALA, FIFTEENTH CENTURY/1855)
TRANSLATED BY RICHARD E. LEINAWEAVER

This Mayan dance-drama provides an invaluable glimpse at the highly ritualized nature of Amerindian performance. Two opponents, the Man of Rabinal and the Queché Warrior, are locked in a stylized battle; it is clear to all from the outset that the Queché captive must die on the sacrificial stone, yet he is shown every honor until the final moment. Although the first transcription of the dialogue dates from 1855, Rabinal Achí recalls pre-Conquest struggles among neighboring dynasties and is still performed today during the fiestas patronales (patron saint’s day festivals) in the town of Rabinal, Guatemala.

Additional Materials

Rabinal Achí - El espíritu vivo del Guerrero Maya, a documentary by Luis Bruzón

Course Materials

Performance & Conquest (NYU/CITRU/UNIRIO, Summer 2004) Rabinal Achí materials

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


Get the Flash Player to see this player.