Ancient Mayan Pottery



Maya civilization is one of the great ancient civilizations of the world. At its height, it was a densely populated, culturally dynamic society, with cities throughout the region that is now Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Renowned for their once enigmatic written language (the most fully developed known written language of the pre-Columbian Americas), the Maya developed complex art and architecture, as well as mathematical and astronomical systems.

The earliest Mayan pottery found at Colha, in Belize, is about 3,000 years old. Recently, however, 4,500-year-old stone agricultural implements were unearthed at Colha. These implements resemble Mayan stone implements of a much later period, also found at Colha. Moreover, the implements' designs are strikingly different from the designs of stone implements produced by other cultures known to have inhabited the area in prehistoric times.

Maya pottery has always been made of clay, which the Mayans collected at the river banks or at the edge of the cenotes, and it was tempered with sand, ashes and tiny stones. As the Mayans did not have a potterīs wheel, all the pottery was hand moulded.

Ancient Mayan Pottery-Articles

The potters of Amatenango del Valle produce cookware, ritual ceramics and decorative items. Ashtrays, tiny dolls, great water jugs, plates, pots, and planters are also commonly made. The adornos (decorative items, though most of their products are utilitarian) are commonly sunbursts, half moons and a variety of animal figures, especially doves.

Serpents, monkeys, birds, jaguar, humans and grotesque beings were favourite decorative devices. Sometimes the Maya pottery bore bands of glyphs, or pseudo-glyphs, arranged to form borders or decorative panels.

One aspect of Mayan art is often overlooked, and that is the tremendous variety of excellence in style and design that it contains. Ancient Greek vase paintings are equally excellent but in comparison to the Mayan are mono-stylistic. Mayan art gave almost free reign to the artist, who was not required to produce a product that fit "the cannon of the culture" in every way.

Ancient Mayan Pottery-Spiritual Aspect

The Maya believed there were a total of 13 heavens above earth and 9 underworlds beneath it. A god ruled each of these skies and lower worlds. The Maya honored these many gods discussed in the Popol Vuh with sacrificial ceremonies in which pottery was offered.

One of the examples of ancient Maya pottery is Bulbous shaped terracotta vessel, the side handles with the heads of open-mouthed jaguars, a seated figure in an elaborate feathered costume on both sides. Some colours used are Brilliant brown, red, and beige. Dark patina. Pre-Columbian antiquities are authentic and come with a Certificate of Authenticity.

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