Mayan Warrior Figurine, AD 550-850 (Late Classic), made of earthenware, post-fire paint.
Among the most renowned of the myriad figurine traditions of Mesoamerica is that of Jaina Island, a residential and funerary settlement adjacent to the coast of west-central Campeche. Jaina Island’s extensive burial grounds have been known since the nineteenth century, but only in the 1940s were they first scientifically excavated. Archaeologists found figurines in the arms of the deceased who had been dressed in their finest clothes and wrapped in cotton burial shrouds and palm-fiber mats.
The renowned Mexico archaeologist Román Piña Chan, the director of excavations at Jaina, has speculated that the figurines served to ensure the deceased’s lifeways and social position in the afterlife. This figurine is notable because it portrays an elderly warrior rather than the robust young combatant so typical of Classic Maya figurines. His identity is confirmed by the flexible, rectangular shield held in his right hand and the quilted armor tunic, both being requisite garb for Maya warriors. He likely represents a captured warrior, defiant yet stately in demeanor, his defeat indicated by the thick rope binding his neck and upper arms. The form of the head suggests that the figure originally was adorned with a removable headdress which has been lost.
Courtesy & currently located at the Walters Art Museum, USA.
The Mayan Tikal National Park, inhabited from the 6th century B.C. to the 10th century A.D.
UNESCO World Heritage official description:
In the heart of this jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation, lies one of the major sites of the Mayan civilization. The ceremonial centre contains superb temples and palaces, and public squares accessed by means of ramps. Remains of dwellings are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside.
The ruined city reflects the cultural evolution of Mayan society from hunter- gathering to farming, with an elaborate religious, artistic and scientific culture which finally collapsed in the late 9th century. At its height, AD 700-800, the city supported a population of 90,000 Mayan Indians. There are over 3,000 separate buildings dating from 600 BC to AD 900, including temples, residences, religious monuments decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions and tombs. (read more)
Photos courtesy & taken by Ondřej Žváček
Stela detail from the Mayan archaeological of Copán, western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala.
It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD.
Discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio, the ruins of Copán, one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization, were not excavated until the 19th century. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century.
From what is known today, the sculpture of Copán appears to have attained a high degree of perfection. The Acropolis, a magnificent architectural complex, appears today as a large mass of rubble which came about through successive additions of pyramids, terraces and temples. The world’s largest archaeological cut runs through the Acropolis. In the walls of the cut, it is possible to distinguish floor levels of previous plazas and covered water outlets.
During the period when Mayan civilization spread across Central America, Copán was the largest and most influential city in the south-eastern sector.
Photo courtesy & taken by Talk2winik