Mayan Art

Essay by Anonymous UserJunior High, 9th gradeA, April 1997

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I thought that the whole assignment sucked, but the teacher thought I did good job.

Mayan Art

Hundreds, even thousands of years before the Spanish conquests of the Middle

and South Americas, huge empires of the Olmecs, Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan

people ruled over the land. A lot is misunderstood about these early

civilizations, for example Mayan, and Aztec art is often mistakenly call

Olmec art. The Olmecs were the earliest Indian culture of the Middle

Americas. Although the Olmec Empire can be traced back to as early as 3300

b.c., It thrived during the years from about 1000 b.c. to 200 b.c. The Aztec

and Maya cultures came much later.

The piece of art I have chosen to do my report on is a statue, or sculpture

from the Mayan culture. The Mayan people lived mainly in Middle America,

around the Yucatan peninsula from about 200 b.c.

to 100 a.d. The statue

seems to be a representation of a dog, or a wolf. This statue was most

likely created for some religious purpose, similar to the gargoyles on later

Churches, or even the Chinese dragon. Gargoyles are supposed be so ugly, and

mean looking that they will drive away the evil spirits. The same scenario

is true to the Chinese dragon, the dragon is supposed to be good luck, so

large and frightening that it will scare away any evil spirits.

Many references have been made to "evil spirits" in this report. The reason

for this is, most early civilizations were based completely on religion,

hence the spiritual and societal integration. An entire culture's

architecture, and art would reflect their religious beliefs.

Many people associate the pyramids with the ancient Egyptians, but in fact

it was the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas that first built the pyramids.