The Maya produced some of the greatest art of Mesoamerica. They used different materials, such as wood, ceramics, jade, and stone to decorate their buildings. Their art-works help us understand their way of life, their hopes and beliefs.
“The history of art is not just the history of artists; it is also the history of the people who viewed art. And that wider perspective can help us see some of the reasons why the art of the ancient world should still matter to us.” Mary Beard
The Maya are one of Mesoamerica’s civilizations, known for its advanced writing, and impressive achievements in art, astronomy, and architecture. Despite the new curious misconceptions, the Mayan people have not disappeared anywhere, hundreds of thousands of Mayan Indians continue to live in the same territories where their ancestors lived thousands of years ago; in many respects, they still adhere to the same traditions and language as they were centuries ago. What disappeared, is the majestic in its beauty classical Mayan civilization.
The Mayan civilization began to form in the period of 2000 BC to 250 AD, reached its peak in 250-900 AD and continued to exist in the mountainous Guatemala and Yucatan until the arrival of the conquistadors.
The Maya built miraculous stone cities, created a developed system of hieroglyphic writing and an original calendar system.
The special culture of Maya, its maturity, is manifested in architecture and visual arts. The Maya erected majestic buildings from roughly treated stone. The facades of buildings were always richly decorated. A distinctive feature of their architecture is a developed sense of proportion and strict simplicity. Such architecture in Central America before the 9th century AD was represented by pyramidal structures and platforms of various sizes and heights. An example of such architecture is the tower-pyramid in Tikal, the most voluminous building in the Mayan world, reaching a height of 60 meters.
The Mayas are also famous for their unique ceramic products. Mayan crafts from ceramics, dated to the classical period, are usually represented by polychromic vessels with painted or embossed images. The surface treatment of vessels was carried out using a complex technique known in modern ceramics as “Terra Sigillata”. Without going into detail on the subtleties and elegance of the ancient method, it should be noted that the use of such technology allowed the Mayans to preserve the colors, brilliance and clear ornaments for many years and centuries.
Mayan music is another distinctive element of an ancient civilization.
Among other skills of Indians were their musical abilities and love for music in general. Singing, dancing, and music were part of their lives. Mayan music has reached our days in the form of numerous ancient musical instruments of the Indians. These are mainly different types of wind instruments, as well as drums, tambourines, and rattles. Their singing and music were always accompanied by dancing.
Mayan culture included a war dance that lasted a whole day, a woman’s dance performed on hot coals. Their music was multifaceted. Platforms covered with carved plates served as a stage for the performance of Mayan music. This was the place for staged myths, ancient stories, and legends as well.