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TitleThe Sacred Tree of the Ancient Maya
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsChristenson, Allen J.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsAncient America; Maya; Mesoamerica; Sacred; Sacred Tree

Sacred trees, representing the power of life to grow from the underworld realm of the dead, are a common motif in the art and literature of the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica. Such trees are similar in concept to the tree of life described in the Book of Mormon, as well as to the mythic traditions of many other contemporary world cultures. Hieroglyphic inscriptions and sixteenth-century highland Maya texts describe a great world tree that was erected at the dawn of the present age to stand as the axis point of the cosmos. In its fruit-laden form, it personified the god of creation who fathered the progenitors of the Maya royal dynasty.