05 October 2008


The Maya created a great number of sculptures, many of which can be seen at Maya sites and museums. A common form of Maya sculpture was the stela. These were large stone slabs covered with carvings. Many depict the rulers of the cities they were located in, and others show gods. The stelae almost always contained hieroglyphs, which have been critical to determining the significance and history of Maya sites. Other stone carvings include figurines, similar to the earthenware ones described earlier, and stone lintels which show scenes of blood sacrifice. The Maya used a great deal of jade in their art. Many stone carvings had jade inlays, and there were also ritual objects created from jade. It is remarkable that the Maya, who had no metal tools, created such intricate and beautiful objects from jade, a very hard and dense material. An excellent example is the death mask of Pacal the Great, ruler of Palenque. A life-size mask created for his corpse had "skin" made from jade and "eyes" made from mother-of-pearl and obsidian. Another distinctive feature were the wooden lintels, the best examples of which are from Tikal and El Zotz, in Peten, Guatemala

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