Mayan Art & Death

mayan death artThe cultural legacy of Maya is still admired by the humanity for the depth of its wisdom and their knowledge, incomprehensible within the framework of modern science. The legendary civilization left a precious trace in the world culture, as well as many secrets and mysteries still unrevealed.

In particular, the culture of Maya was rich in rituals, art, architecture, and all this was closely intertwined with religion.

A special place in the culture of Maya was occupied by gods, death, and associated rituals and all that found its reflection in the art of that great civilization. They had special respect for death and everything associated with it: Maya were mourning the dead, honoring the gods and observing all the necessary rituals.

Mayan art and death were closely interwoven with each other as for worshiping gods of death they needed necessary ritual accessories and other regalia to gain god’s favor and show them their respect. Mayan art widely used various symbols depicting death and rebirth through scenes and even space funerals.

Also, it is necessary to separately mark Mayan iconography and the art of depicting Ah Puch.

Ah Puch is Mayan God of Death. Statues, paintings, masks of this god have firmly entered the art of the Maya and it was treated with great respect. Ah Puch was depicted in different hypostases. In some images, he appears in the form of a skeletal figure with projecting ribs and an appalling skull in the decomposition stage.

In other paintings, it is depicted in the form of a skeleton with an owl head and bells, as it was associated with an owl. Or, it was a dancing human skeleton, smoking a cigarette and dressed in a frightening collar of human eyes. Ah Punch was revered and feared. His image can be found on a variety of works of art of the time.

Masks of death and rebirth, as well as other Mayan masks are also one of the art forms that attract our careful attention to the Mesoamerican art of those times. Maya believed in rebirth and this faith can be easily traced in the artifacts like masks of death and rebirth, which is associated with the legacy of Maya.

In this culture, life and death are closely related and equally respected. The theme of death in Mayan culture is found everywhere, the bright example is the painting of those times, which often served not only as decoration, but also had a deep historical and religious meaning.

The theme of death in Mayan art is revealed in music, songs of those people and even theater. Songs and music of Maya also had a deep religious meaning, as musical instruments they used whistles, pipes and different kinds of drums. The conquistadors repressed the Maya music because of its close connection with religion.

A special role in the culture of Maya was played by sculpture. Despite the aggression of the Catholic Church, many of the Maya sculptures survived. Often these works of art are kings, priests and gods, including the gods of death.

A lot of artifacts and art objects of those times are preserved and are in the possession of museums, galleries and private collections. The profound philosophical meaning and level of mastery of the Maya still amaze the hearts and souls of people all around the world.