The first book to examine how the ancient Maya defined gender. Contributors explain what it meant to be male and female. They show how gender was experienced and what the bases were for gender designations. They demonstrate how gender relations affected other areas of Mayan life, such as the arts, cosmology, economics, politics, religion, and social structure. And they analyze the changes in Mayan gender relations and identities that were fostered by evolving historical systems. There was no single Mayan polity nor was there a unitary cultural approach. Certain similarities in culture account for the observation of a general commonality among the ancient Maya, but there clearly were significant differences between Mayan sites, within the same site over time, and even between social sectors at the same site in any given time-this is no less true for ancient Maya gender identity and relations. Thus, the authors seek to explain why emphasis upon bilateral inheritance of power and prerogative was emphasized in artwork at some periods and some sites and not at others.Avoiding the vain attempt to provide a single explanation, they seek to offer a clearer sense of the richness of their topic.