The Maya - Language of Beauty. Sites & Exhibitions
This nuanced account explores Maya mythology through the lens of art, text, and culture. It offers an important reexamination of the midth-century Popol Vuh. gation into the ideas and structures that inform Mayan painting and pedagogical an artistic mentorship, the teacher-student relationship creates a kind of. " insidership" . The literature is replete with interpretations of multicultural education. The Maya writing system is considered by archaeologists to be the most sophisticated system ever developed in Mesoamerica. The Maya wrote using
To appease the gods, they subjected themselves to various rites, to which the cult of the body was central, as is demonstrated by numerous artefacts: To achieve their ideal of beauty, they used the body as a "canvas". They altered their physical appearance in many ways. This ranged from everyday methods such as hairstyles and skin colour to tooth jewellery, scars, tattoos and artistic modification of the body shape, which changed the appearance for life and stood as a visible expression of cultural identity and social belonging.
Clothing indicated the social status of a person.
Mayan Civilization - New World Encyclopedia
The majority of the population dressed simply: The noble dressed elegantly with artistically worked clothing, accessories such as belts, necklaces, head coverings, and breast and head ornaments set with precious stones and feathers, as can be seen in quite a number of the artefacts. The Maya regarded the differences between the human and animal kingdoms as part of their world view, which was based on complementary contrasts: Limestone structures, faced with lime stucco, were the hallmark of ancient Maya architecture.
Maya buildings were adorned with carved friezes and roof combs in stone and stucco. With large quantities of limestone and flint available, plaster and cement were easily produced. This allowed the Mayans to build impressive temples, with stepped pyramids.
- The Maya - Language of Beauty
- Mayan Scientific Achievements
On the summits were thatched- roof temples. Evidence show that the early Maya architects were using the corbel vault principle, which is arch like structures with sides that extend inward until they meet at the top. Another matchless feature of the Mayans was the use of colorful murals.
It is also noted that most of the Maya cities were built by being divided into quaters by two avenues which cross-cut each other at right angles. Roofs were flat and made with cedar beams overlaid with mortar. The walls were plastered and painted with great gods and other mythological features.
Tombs were often encased within or beneath Mayan structures. Frequently new temples were built over existing structures. The Mayans also expressed themselves artistically. Their ceramics were made in a large variety of forms and decorated with complex scenes. The Mayans also designed works of art from flint, bone and shell, along with making decorated cotton textiles. Even metal was used for ceremonial purposes. Items made with metal include necklaces, bracelets and headresses.
It is evident that all of the structures built by the ancient Mayans were built in honor of the gods. Compounds were built with large open areas, from which all the citizens could view the religious ceremonies taking place on the platforms elevated above the city. On the other hand, the construction of the Castillo, seems to relate to the ancient Maya's obsession with the calendar. For example, each stairway in the temple has 91 steps, making a total of steps in the four staircases, which, counting the platform at the top of the pyramid, equals the total number of days in the solar year.
Even more so, each side of the pyramid has nine stepped terraces divided by a stairway, for a total of eighteen sections on each side, consequently, the number of months in the Mayan calendar. A honeycombed roofcomb towered above many structures, providing a base for painted plaster that was the Maya equivalent of the billboard.
In addition to temples, most Maya sites had multi-roomed structures that probably served as royal palaces as well as centers for government affairs. Historically significant events, such as accessions, the capture or sacrifice of royal victims and the completion of the twenty year katun cycle, were recorded on stone stelae and tablets.
Without metal tools, beasts of burden, or even the wheel the Mayans were able to construct vast cities across a huge jungle landscape with an amazing degree of architectural perfection and variety. They were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools.
Urban Design As Maya cities spread throughout the varied geography of Mesoamerica, site planning appears to have been minimal.
Maya architecture tended to integrate a great degree of natural features, and their cities were built somewhat haphazardly as dictated by the topography of each independent location. For instance, some cities on the flat limestone plains of the northern Yucatan grew into great sprawling municipalities, while others built in the hills of Usumacinta utilized the natural loft of the topography to raise their towers and temples to impressive heights.
However, some semblance of order, as required by any large city, still prevailed. Classic Era Maya urban design could easily be described as the division of space by great monuments and causeways.
Open public plazas were the gathering places for people and the focus of urban design, while interior space was entirely secondary. Only in the Late Post-Classic era did the great Maya cities develop into more fortress-like defensive structures that lacked, for the most part, the large and numerous plazas of the Classic.
At the onset of large-scale construction during the Classic Era, a predetermined axis was typically established in a cardinal direction. Depending on the location of natural resources such as fresh-water wells, or cenotes, the city grew by using sacbeob causeways to connect great plazas with the numerous platforms that created the sub-structure for nearly all Maya buildings.
As more structures were added and existing structures re-built or remodeled, the great Maya cities seemed to take on an almost random identity that contrasted sharply with other great Mesoamerican cities such as Teotihuacan and its rigid grid-like construction.
Mayan Scientific Achievements - HISTORY
At the heart of the Maya city were large plazas surrounded by the most important governmental and religious buildings, such as the royal acropolis, great pyramid temples and occasionally ball-courts. Though city layouts evolved as nature dictated, careful attention was placed on the directional orientation of temples and observatories so that they were constructed in accordance with Maya interpretation of the orbits of the heavenly bodies.
Immediately outside of this ritual center were the structures of lesser nobles, smaller temples, and individual shrines; the less sacred and less important structures had a greater degree of privacy. Outside of the constantly evolving urban core were the less permanent and more modest homes of the common people. Building Materials A surprising aspect of the great Maya structures is their lack of many advanced technologies that would seem to be necessary for such constructions.
Lacking metal tools, pulleys and maybe even the wheel, Maya architecture required one thing in abundance: Yet, beyond this enormous requirement, the remaining materials seem to have been readily available. All stone for Maya structures appears to have been taken from local quarries. They most often utilized limestone, which remained pliable enough to be worked with stone tools while being quarried, and only hardened once removed from its bed.
In addition to the structural use of limestone, much of their mortar consisted of crushed, burnt, and mixed limestone that mimicked the properties of cement and was used just as widely for stucco finishing as it was for mortar.
However, later improvements in quarrying techniques reduced the necessity for this limestone-stucco as their stones began to fit quite perfectly, yet it remained a crucial element in some post and lintel roofs. In the case of the common Maya houses, wooden poles, adobe, and thatch were the primary materials; however, instances of what appear to be common houses of limestone have been discovered as well. Also notable throughout Mayan architecture is the false arch, whose limitations kept their structures generally weighty rather than airy.
The Long Count system identified each day by counting forward from a fixed date in the distant past. It grouped days into sets, or cycles, as follows: One Grand Cycle was equal to 13 baktuns, or about 5, solar years. At sunset on these two days, the pyramid casts a shadow on itself that aligns with a carving of the head of the Mayan serpent god.
Mayan Technology Remarkably, the ancient Maya managed to build elaborate temples and great cities without what we would consider to be essential tools: For example, they built complicated looms for weaving cloth and devised a rainbow of glittery paints made from mica, a mineral that still has technological uses today.