Mayas 4

MaMayas civilizationyan Art

The art of the Maya, as with every civilization, is a reflection of their lifestyle and culture. The art was composed of delineation and painting upon paper and plaster, carvings in wood and stone, clay and stucco models, and terra cotta figurines from molds.

The technical process of metalworking was also highly developed but as the resources were scarce, they only created ornaments in this media.

Many of the great programs of Maya art, inscriptions, and architecture were commissioned by Mayan kings to memorialize themselves and ensure their place in history.

The prevailing subject of their art is not anonymous priests and unnamed gods but rather men and women of power that serve to recreate the history of the people. The works are a reflection of the society and its interaction with surrounding people.

The clothing worn by the Maya is as it was in the past, and is perhaps, the most forgotten art form still in use.

It is relatively easy to determine the village in which the clothing was made by the type of embroidery, color, design, and shape. This Mayan tradition has been passed on from generation to generation.

Traditional Mayan Clothing

Traditional Mayan huipil -- elaborate brocaded weaves done on outdoor backstrap handlooms -- is still worn today among the Chiapas Maya villages of the southern Mexico highlands. (Other Mayan people do the less-demanding embroidery on garments for women and men.)

The huipil is a rectangular outer garment, centered with an intricate brocade-woven cross-shape covering the arms, front, and back.

It embodies symbols of the cosmos -- world, sky, and spirits. "Nichimal" or "flowery" is the Tzotzil word for beauty. A huipil depicts the earth as the spring rains fall and flowers burst forth.

A woman wearing one she has woven with vision and prayer is in the center of the flowery universe of space and time. She feels this, wearing her huIndigenas Mayasipil.

When she puts her head through its central hole, she is the axis of the sky-cosmos and the infinite underworld of the Earthlord, who controls weather, the dead and meritorious spirits of ancestors (who become stars).

The universe of sacred space and time radiates from her head, across her arms and down her body. The patterns and meanings of huipili nave not changed since the classic Maya period. They are shown on stone carvings of the abandoned, ancient jungle cities.

Mayan womecalendario Mayan of the southern Mexico Chiapas highlands, who weave cotton cloth and the traditional yarn brocades for huipili tie one end of the loom to a tree outdoors, unroll the fabric and lean forward and back against the loom waist belt to control tension in the weft threads, a technique formerly used by Hopi weavers.

The base fabric of all village clothing is cotton, grown in the lowland valleys.  Since the Spaniards, introduced sheep (called “cotton deer”, they have been prized for wool (they are considered sacred and not eaten).  Here a weaver is spinning thread, with a round stone weighting the vertical spindle, drawing out the thread from a puff of combed cotton in her other hand.  It takes as long to spin the yarn for weaving as to do the intricate brocade weaving itself.