The Maya Essay

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The Maya were a dominating society of Mesoamerica, rich in culture, community, and art. While life may not be completely interpretable yet, much in known about how these societies were constructed, and how their religion dominated their lives. Much is generally made of their massive stonework, their ceremonial complexes, and ritual sacrifices, but their small jade, ceramic, and stone sculpture deserves as much attention as the works of much larger size have received.      The Maya, inhabiting southern Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize, began to settle in communities around 1500 b.c. By A.D. 200, these communities had grown into large cities with expansive areas of temples, pyramids, ball courts, and plazas.1…show more content…
     Because maize was considered sacred during the Classic Maya period, that god was a prominent figure in Mayan sculpture. The people’s belief that maize was ground with water to create the flesh and blood of the first human is essentially what prompted such revere of this particular deity. A stone figure of the Maize God, from Copan, depicts ritualized gesture and contemplation. Figure 10 is a figurine of a ruler dancing with maize, from Guatemala. According to Mary Ellen Miller, the “Maize God dances as the ‘mother-father’- a primary source of human life.”4 Some characteristics of this god include the enormous rack on his back, with small creatures wedged into a frame, usually wearing a betted hipcloth or skirt, and generally wearing a carved spiny oyster shell to give a symbolic vagina.5      Rulers were also depicted during this time in sculpture. Figure 11 is a funerary vessel with a portrait head to embody the man as eternally youthful. While figure 12 is an incense burner depicting the ruler sitting on a Cauac Monster throne. This also represents the ruler as an eternal youth figure. The throne symbolizes earth, rocks, and mountains.      Late Classic Maya sculpture demonstrates the freedom that artists now had to develop original style. According to Coe, “their art

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