The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
For eighth-century China it was her Golden Age (JAMA cover, February
28, 2001), for Europe the Dark Ages, for the Maya empire its Classic Period.
China was ruled by the great Tang Dynasty, Europe by the Martels, the Maya
by a hereditary aristocracy descended from gods. Chinese poets Li Po and Tu
Fu wrote about trees, forests, mountains, water, sounds, sensations; Tu Fu
believed his poems cured malaria. In England a monk named Bede had just finished
writing a history of the English nation; his work marked the beginning of
English literature. The Maya were also writing their history, but it took
the form of painting: pictures on the walls of caves, on vases, and later,
in the illuminations of manuscripts. Among the finest examples of pottery
painting from this era is Vase of the Dancing Lords
(cover). The style, which is characterized
by its colors, red and orange on a cream background, is called Holmul, after
the site in the jungles of the Petén lowlands in eastern Guatemala
near the border with Belize where it was found.
Southgate MT. Vase of the Dancing Lords. JAMA. 2001;285(17):2169. doi:10.1001/jama.285.17.2169