Mayan Gods and Art List
Mayan Prince in Chiapas
Legacy of Mayan Kings
Mayan art, as in other parts of the ancient world was commissioned by Mayan kings as a means to ensure their legacy long after their death. Ancient pyramids and palatial cities have been discovered all over southern Mexico and Central America. Many stelae were erected with images of kings and glyphs depicting their lineage. Lineage was important in establishing the right of kings to rule. Only the kings, scribes, and wealthy could read the glyphs and the lower orders were not taught to read and write. There were many cities of the Maya and thus many kings and dialects. Even today many ancient dialects such as, Qhuche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, and Mam are spoken by the Indians across Central America . The majority of the descendants of the Mayan civilization speaks Spanish today.
Gods of the Maya
Hunab Ku: The Supreme Deity
The Mayans believed in one god who appeared with many names. The name of the supreme deity god was Hunab Ku. Hunab Ku was invisible, all powerful and omniscient. He knew everything. He wanted to be the only god in the universe. It is believed that those who created Hunab Ku were trying to change their civilization from polytheism to monotheism.
The Feathered Serpent: Kukulkan
Evidence of the Feathered Serpent god is found everywhere in the religious temples. Called Kukulkan by the Mayas, Quetzalcoatl by the Aztecs and Viracocha by the Incas, there are many questions about this serpent god. Kukulcan was also known as the wind god. The Mayans were skilled astronomers and the study of Venus was part of their religion. The Feathered Serpent temple is the third largest pyramid at Teotihuacan located at a site in Central America.
The Maize God
According to anthropologists, the corn god was Yum K'aax, shown as a young man with long, silky tresses; much like the silt on the cobs. He was beautiful with classic Maya profile, His headdress was made of a cornstalk surrounded by leaves. Glyphs reveal that his name was Kan. However, there is disagreement among researchers who mention a second earlier maize god known as Kauil, Ah Uaxac Yol Kauil, and Itzam Na Kauil. Uil means sustenance and Kaa means excess or abundance so this may be reason for this naming of the maize god. Corn was a plant food cultivated by the Maya and was a necessity for the sustenance of their civilization.
Mayan artists were allowed to freely create their products. This is particularly visible in the ceramic vessels that were mostly not on public display. These products were generally created as gifts or for sale to the royalty of other cities. Mayan vase paintings are quite similar to modern art than any of the other artists of the period and earlier. Interestingly enough many of the Mayan sculptors and painters signed their work giving us an insight into the lives of the artists. This work spoke of a person’s product. Signed art was highly prized and sought after by the elite classes. The most well known is Aj Muwan from Naranjo, maker of the 7 and 11 god vases among other fine pieces.
Lost Gods of the Maya
Ancient Aliens: Nine Gods of Egypt and the Mayan
- New Mayan Calendar
New Mayan Calendar found contradicts the doomsday prophets of the Maya.
- Mayan Civilization
Interesting slide show and discussion about the Mayan civilization and how they lived.
- Corn and the Maya
When Christopher Columbus landed in America he wasn't in search of a new world; he was looking for a shorter trade route to transport spices from the Far East to Europe. However he found something far more valuable: corn
- Mayan art
Essay on the Mayan Civilization
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