The Rich and Diverse Maya Art written by: MIvica The now lost Maya civilization is one of the biggest mysteries of the ancient world of South America. With an organized society that lasted over 1500 years, the Mayans made a big impression on the region of central America, where most of their civilization was located. However, their state disappeared under mysterious circumstances and their once mighty cities were left to the jungle. But, at the same time, their influence on the region’s culture is immeasurable. This is especially true when it comes to Maya art and how their approaches to different artistic disciplines allowed others that came after them to develop and prosper. Here are the most important ways how the Maya civilization expressed itself through art forms.
Sculpture and Stone working
Possibly the most widespread of all arts in the Maya culture was the process of sculpting using stone. This is evident from the majestic buildings they created, including numerous stunning palaces and pyramids. But, their knowledge of stone working was a lot more diverse. During the Classic Maya period, they produced intricate objects, including one known as Stelea, which represents decorated pillars that acted as a part of the altar setup. These stone pillars were detailedly carved and decorated with many details, showing a part of the history or religious tradition of the region.
Maya art included plenty of pianists, which mostly came in the form of murals that were painted on building walls, from temples to ordinary houses. They often depicted things like mythology, daily life, religious ceremonies, and battles. Unfortunately, because of the humidity that persists in the jungle, most of these pianists were lost, but the Mayan approach to this art survived.
Ceramics and Pottery
Mayan were masters at producing decorated pottery. These objects played a practical role in the life of the citizens of any city-state, but they are also fabulous examples of the Maya art at its best. Here, the aptitude of the artisans can be seen in the decoration of the pottery, which was made without the use of a potter’s wheel, which makes them even more impressive.
Featherworking and Weaving
Like Aztecs and Incas, Maya civilization also placed a lot of emphasis on the way its members dressed. This is the reason why weaving became exceedingly developed in the same culture and it resulted in incredible garments, especially those worn by priests and the nobility. Here, featherworking was a specialty which allowed the craftsmen to make headdresses shaped entirely from the feathers of beautiful birds. This Maya art form was used in such a way that its precision and quality seem very impressive even today.
Often overlooked part of the Maya art heritage, music was also developed in this civilization. Its works were mostly based on percussion instruments like rattles and drums, but also wind instruments as well. Later on, they also developed several forms of string instruments, but these were reserved for the ruling classes. Because of this, they were rarely heard among the common people.
Thanks to all of this art, it can be easily said that the Maya art is a field rich with many forms of artistic expression. No matter if they made huge stone buildings, beautiful garments or music, Maya civilization left a huge mark on the history of the South America, but also the history of the entire world.
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