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Mayan Art Megathread

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Warden, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    So most of you who have seen either my fluff or art threads might have noticed that I have a thing for Mayan history and art. I have found the Mayan civilization fascinating for some time now. It was one of the things that I loved so much about the Lizardmen of Warhammer, because much of their lore was taken from Mayan (and Aztec, Inca, and other Pre-Columbian) sources. I have built up a pretty extensive collection of Mayan books, art, and computer images of some great inspirational stuff that has been helping me with my ongoing Lizard-ly and other hobby projects, and I figured why not, its time to start sharing.

    There is always more great stuff out there, so feel free to add stuff!

    Since this is the first post, I will start this off with one of the most famous pieces of Mayan art and sculpture: the sarcophagus lid of King Pacal the Great's burial chamber:

    mayan-3b.jpg

    Better shot of the chamber itself, lots of carvings all around the room:
    platte.jpg

    Artist's drawings of the carving's details:
    Pakal the Great Sarcophagus 2.jpg

    Obviously it is King Pacal in the center. Depending on which description you read he is either ascending out of or descending through the gaping centipede-jaws of the underworld along the axis of the Great World Ceiba tree at the center of the universe, where the Great Bird Deity (the sun of the last creation) is perched on top. The sculpture draws many allusions to the story of the maize god, his continuous cycle of death and rebirth as he dies and rises again as maize to feed the people. In some ways it makes the statement that Pacal will never truly die, he will be reborn when the cycle of time continues.

    No it is not a space bike if you put it on its side.
    Pakal the Great Sarcophagus.jpg


    Last pic, a general shot of the interior of the Temple of Inscriptions where he was buried.
    pakaltombsteps.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  2. Crowsfoot
    OldBlood

    Crowsfoot Well-Known Member

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    I love this stuff, we went to the Valley of the Kings 9 years ago and the inscriptions on the walls were amazing and the valley it's self was like looking into a sea of stone you could not see the end, Egypt it's self is let's say a bit mucky behind the ears but worth a visit once. The pictures you have posted just get the mind turning with wonderment.
     
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  3. Bowser
    Slann

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    I totally thought it was a space bike! These are crazy awesome though.
     
  4. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    You have been to the Valley of the Kings?? That is amazing! I definitely want to visit there someday! I had a friend of mine who made it to Egypt and saw the pyramids, and other than being a few countries away I have never gotten a chance to go myself.

    I have been very luck and have been able to visit two actual mayan sites, so these next pictures are all ones I have taken myself!

    First is Tulum, off the coast of Mexico in the Yucatan. While it is not known for anything too extraordinary when it comes to art, architecture, or size, the site of Tulum is famous because of its breathtaking location along the Mayan Riviera and the ocean. I saw somewhere it has been labelled one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

    IMG_0428.JPG

    IMG_0416.JPG

    IMG_0583.JPG

    I actually used this building, or rather a drawing of it, when I started building some tabletop terrain!
    IMG_0605.JPG

    Next up is Xunantunich, in Belize. The name is not the original mayan name, it means "stone woman" after a legend about a ghost who continued to appear during the 1890s.

    Main Pyramid:
    IMG_1006.JPG

    The Mayans used stucco to make many of their carvings (it was kind of like a clay-concrete). Some of the stucco reliefs have been refurbished with amazing results! Just imagine back when it was painted...

    IMG_1176.JPG

    IMG_1279.JPG

    Xunantunich Ruins.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  5. Bowser
    Slann

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    Those are gorgeous! I would love to visit them someday!
     
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  6. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    A classic example of Mayan sculpture is the "stela" or "stelae," giant tree stones carved with the image of their most famous kings and queens. Some of the best examples are the ones from Copan in Honduras, because they didn't just carve the front and backs of the stones but instead carved all four sides to create monumental 3D sculptures. The stela were normally arranged in plazas at the foot of pyramids, often in "forests" of tree-stones.

    Stela at Copan

    0fca0dd0ed647a72e04e23d6168936f7.jpg

    16%20Copan%20-%20Stela%20H.jpg

    The back of this stelae is carved in the likeness of the World Tree, just like the Palenque sarcophagus lid!!
    a1_1100.jpg

    copan-9.gif

    W1112-Copan-Stela-H-674x372-674x372.jpg

    My favorite stelae is probably Stela B, a portrait of Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, king of Copan 695-738. he is also known as "18-Rabbit," and is also pictured in the above Stela H.
    Copan Stelae 1.jpg

    copan_stela_h-150D94EDAA37893651B.jpg

    Great stuff!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  7. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Altars.

    Mayans used decorated altars for sacrifices and offerings, probably to ancestors and other deities. They did practice a great deal of bloodletting in many of there rituals (as evidenced by some of their artwork) but most of the straight-up human sacrifices don't seem to come into play until after the classic period.

    Altar of Stela D from Copan

    Altar D.jpg

    Probably my favorite one, this altar is carved with effigies of the "witz" mountain monster.

    Mayan Altar- Copan.jpg


    This next altar, also from Copan, is crucial to the reconstruction of the Copan dynasty. On the sides of the altar is a near complete list of the ancient Kings of Copan, starting below with Yax Kuk-Mo (second from left) with his characteristic Teotihuacan "war goggles"
    effigiesfig1.jpg

    nn11f.jpg

    trav_altarq_l.jpg

    And just two more altars for now, also beautifully carved. I believe the first one is from Yaxchillan but I am not sure.

    altar.jpg

    Altar_13_Mesoamerican_Gallery.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  8. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Mayan City Layout

    So we already have a thread specifically for Lizardmen temple-city layouts offered to us by the mightly @Slanputin , so here are some examples of real-world Mayan cities (plus some other famous Pre-Columbian cities).

    Tikal

    IMG_0459.jpg
    Really want to go to Guatemala someday...

    IMG_0460.jpg

    IMG_0461.jpg

    IMG_0462.jpg

    Most Mayan cities were elaborately painted in bright reds, yellows, and blues. Mostly reds, because temples were normally seen as living mountains of fire (volcanos). The Mayans added to this effect by having incense and ceremonial fires constantly burning at the tops of many of their temples.


    Tenochtitlan- not Mayan, but the capitol of the Aztecs in central Mexico. Not sure how accurate the picture is other than the man double-temple.

    IMG_0463.jpg

    Teotihuacan- also not Mayan, but at one point it was the most powerful city in the New World, and its armies effectively conquered almost the entire Mayan peninsula.

    IMG_0464.jpg

    Teotihuacan was one of the FEW cities of the New World to be constructed around an actual grid pattern. This was due to the fact that the city was built very rapidly over a short span of time, mostly within a single decade by a very powerful ruler. Most Mayan cities are actually built very haphazardly, with temples springing up wherever is convenient. Most temples are astrologically aligned however.

    Copan-

    IMG_0465.jpg

    IMG_0466.jpg

    Palenque- reconstruction of the Palace group with its giant roofcombs and tower in the center.

    IMG_0467.jpg

    Plan is to make a Mordheim board with this one in mind someday...

    Tonina- the entire city temple-complex was built almost as a fortress, built right up the side of a giant hill. Makes for one imposing structure.
    IMG_0468.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  9. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Last few layouts for today...

    El Mirador- one of the oldest (BC!!) but one of the largest Mayan cities ever built, boasting two of the largest man-made structures on earth, the El Tigre pyramid (180 ft, 55 meters) and La Danta (236 ft, 72 meters). The La Danta is 2,800,000 cubic meters, but that is NOT including the even bigger platform it is built on...

    e5bac554418dbcef9f92b8b8f45e3191.jpg

    El-Mirador-Maya-Metropolis-32.jpg

    Cazamul- ancient rivals of Tikal, also one of the largest pyramids in the Mayan world.

    mayancity.jpg

    and to finish,

    Chichen Itza- with its famous Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as the Castillo.

    chichenitza.jpg

    ending with some art from Civ 5 (it may be obvious which civilization I like to play as at this point...)

    Chichen-Itza-2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  10. n810
    Slann

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    Teotihuacan also had a storm sewer and running water.
    (got to Visit it back when I was in high School)
     
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  11. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    :wideyed:

    This I did not know. That is more advanced than almost every city in the world at that time! Running water??

    Amazing what the ancients were able to accomplish.
     
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  12. Bowser
    Slann

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    This is all incredible. Just so amazing and gorgeous!
     
  13. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    Found a little more on this site.... about half way down.
    http://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html
    [​IMG]
    Tenochtitlán had a sophisticated water system for its time. Above is a water channel discovered under several layers of the plaza. Two large terracotta aqueducts fed the city fresh water from springs at the on-shore hill of Chapultepec. Each aqueduct possessed a double channel and each was more than 4 km (2.5 mi) long. Lago de Texcoco itself was brackish (salty), although fed by fresh underwater springs. In 1453, during the reign of Moctezuma I, a dike was completed that separated the frresh, underwater springs from the broader, brackish areas of the lake. This was a considerable engineering accomplishment, given the lack of draft animals, wheeled vehicles, or metal tools. The levee of Nezahualcoyctl, when completed, was between 12 and 16 km (7.5 to 9.9 mi) in length. The new areas of fresh water adjacent to the island were used to create the famous chinampas, or floating gardens, some of which still exist. These were artificial islands created by driving stakes into the lakebed and then fencing them with wattle. Layered with mud and decaying vegetation, the fenced portion eventually reached above the waterline where it could be planted. The stakes themselves sometimes took root and became trees. The Mexica thus created their own arable land. The chinampas were easily accessible from the city and--just as important--easily defended by the moat created by the lake. Tenochtitlán had no sewers, but it did have an extensive system of public and private toilets where waste was collected in canoes to be used as fertilizer on the chinampas. The Mexica waste system, along with the frequent baths enabled by the fresh water from the aqueducts, created a remarkably healthy environment for a large city. It was certainly far superior to anything existing in Europe at the time. Unfortunately none of this afforded any defense against the diseases the Spanish brought. (Photo from the Templo Mayor archaeological site)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  14. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    That is some fantastic stuff! And the website is well worth the read, a multitude of fantastic Aztec images, art, and history!
     
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  15. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Tikal Temple IV Lintel 3

    So as much as the Mayans are known for their fantastic stone carvings (they were almost a stone age civilization right up until the Spanish arrived...) they are known to have created a vast amount of beautiful wood carvings as well. Makes sense, after all they lived in a tropical climate where trees were an abundant resource. Sadly the majority of their wooden artwork has rotted away over the centuries, but some of the pieces we have left are truly extraordinary. This particular piece was contained in one of the major temples in Tikal.

    Tikal Lintel 1.jpg

    The lintel is currently located in a museum in Switzerland, I REALLY want to go there someday to see it. Sadly it is very damaged, but most of the lintel has survived. Good line drawing:

    Tikal-lintel-1.jpg

    The lintel commemorates the victory of Yik'in Chan K'awiil, king of Tikal, against a neighboring city El Peru in 743 AD.

    mayan-low-relief-carved-wood-lintel-from-temple-iv-at-tikal-guatemala-DDYPY0.jpg

    detail-of-a-mayan-low-relief-carved-wood-lintel-from-temple-iv-at-BJ3936.jpg

    I apologize for the use of stock photos, but they are great quality.

    Considering the quality of the wood carvings that still remain with us today, we can only wonder and mourn the loss of so many beautiful pieces of art that have been lost to the centuries!
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  16. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Incense Burners/Censer Bearers

    Fire and Smoke played a big role in many Mayan religious ceremonies. Aside from just burning stuff on altars or in clay braziers, the Mayans created intricate sculptures to burn incense inside out of clay or other materials. Some of these sculptures were so intricate the smoke would actually come out the nose, mouth, or ears of the faces in the incense burners!!

    Incense Burner 2.jpg

    These kinds of censer bearers are my favorite, the ones with faces carved/sculpted on the fronts almost in a totem-pole like style.

    Censer.jpg

    Mayan_-_Incensario_(Incense_Burner)_-_Walters_482770.jpg

    I was lucky to see these two next ones in person! They are held at the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas, along with a bunch of other Mayan artifacts I will have to post later. Some great examples of Mayan sculpture, originally from Palenque. They were originally painted very bright colors, you can still see some of the blue paint on these two. They were about 3 to 4 feet in height from what I remember.

    Incense Burners.JPG

    IMG_2207.JPG

    IMG_2210.JPG

    And here were the museum descriptions that went with them

    IMG_2216.JPG

    IMG_2214.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  17. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Faces of Chac- Uxmal

    Chac, also "Chaac" was one of the rain gods of Mayan and other Pre-Columbian religions. In Mayan sculpture he was depicted in a great deal of detail, normally with a characteristic long nose (that looked suspiciously like gonzo from the muppets)

    Uxmal Chaac.jpg

    8012955.jpg

    line drawing showing the parts of a normal Chac face.

    uxmal12.jpg

    Also here is some more of the beautiful stucco at Uxmal, including the "mouth" entrance to the pyramid of the magician.

    uxmal-chac-yucatan-mexico-4471061.jpg

    w791.jpg

    intricate-doorway-through-the-mouth-of-the-rain-god-chac-atop-the-C1W9D2.jpg
     
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  18. Warden
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    Just one picture today, interesting skull sculpture and accompanying beautiful glyphs, from Copan.

    Copan Skull.jpg
     
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  19. Warden
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    Mayan Vases.

    Most are in pieces, but some of the ones that survive are beautiful. Also unlike most of their other sculpture or stonework, vases tend to show more about Mayan mythology and every-day life. Bigger works such as public buildings normally were restricted to glorifying the king or his lineage. This is probably due to the sheer amount of pottery that must have existed throughout the centuries.
    Vase.jpg
    496_04_2.jpg

    Next two supposedly done by Ah Maxam, a prince of Naranjo who was an accomplished painter.

    Vase by Ah Maxam.jpg
    6060.jpg

    This one is one of my favorites due to the sheer amount of painted detail; shows the old god Itzamnaaj, and a fat-rabbit god. I saw this one in person in a museum, eventually I will post the proof!

    1398.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
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  20. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

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    Some more beautiful vases.

    I think this first one is Ah Maxam based on the signature but I cant tell for sure.
    7814still.jpg

    462d106f44b71a7e0c0f652f175246c3.jpg

    dabe502f1ea3b614b034f38d590a93ad.jpg

    e46df686346db60012e4ac5ea7cba701.jpg

    Sun-bellied Jaguar god!
    b1fddde5589321afc11a2819d4f3bb5e.jpg

    Vessel of the Dancing Lords, done by Ah Maxam

    Vessel of the Dancing Lords Ah Maxam.jpg
     
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