Maya Jadeite Jewelry
Archaeologists know that the royals wore a lot of jewelry. They wore bracelets, nose plugs, ear plugs, earrings, knee bands, anklets, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and pendants made from shark and crocodile teeth and claws, shells, obsidian, bone, wood, polished stone, and jadeite. Ear plugs are earrings that fit inside large holes cut into the earlobe.
Common people wore simple nose plugs, lip plugs, and earrings of bone, wood, shell, and stone. Nose and lip plugs are just like ear plugs. They are pieces of jewelry that fit into holes cut for the purpose of decorating the body.
Mesoamerican jade, from the highlands of what is now Guatemala, is called “jadeite.” Though green like the jade of China, it can also be black. Maya royalty prized jadeite because its green color reminded them of fields of green corn stalks.
Jadeite is a very hard stone that ranges in color from blue-green to nearly black. The Maya collected it from the riverbeds of what is now Guatemala. Because they prized it so much, Maya nobles even drilled holes in their teeth and filled them with jadeite! The Maya learned how to drill, grind, and cut jadeite from the Olmec people.
Because jadeite is so hard, it takes great skill to carve - especially without metal tools. Flint, which the Maya used for cutting and carving limestone, was useless against jadeite.
But the ancient Maya were able to saw jadeite into ﬂat slabs by drawing a cord embedded with quartz pieces back and forth over its surface with the help of water and sand. They used bone drills to make decorative cuts and plant fibers to polish the surface of the stone. Jewelry and other items made out of jadeite have been found in Maya tombs.
- Maya Art
Maya art is interesting because it shows a lot of massacre and bloodshed. It never depicts happy scenes. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, the Maya idolized people with long oval heads, slightly slanting eyes, long curving noses, and fleshy lips
- Maya Pottery
Maya artists produced world-class pottery. To make their pottery, the ancient Maya used clay from the riverbeds. They strengthened it by adding calcite, quartz, or volcanic ash.
- The Maya Codices
Maya scribes spent their time writing in special books made of paper called codices. In these books, scribes faithfully recorded centuries of Maya history, astronomical calculations, and religious practices. Some of the Maya codices even recorded tra