In order to understand the sculpture it is very important to understand the Mayan history. The Maya civilization can be considered to be among the classiest pre-Colombian Americas. The Maya region ranges from the southeastern Mexico to Guatemala. The Maya civilization has been claimed to have existed during the Pre-classic era (Sylvanus). During this era, that is when they were able to flourish and also be defeated. Their culture in the last decade has been influenced by the Mexican culture. The Mayan art is one of the most renowned in the world. This is the reason why the sculptures and art from the Mayan civilization is expensive. The Mayan art and sculptures were created from their traditions. In looking at most of their artwork, it is visible to see their traditions and customs. The Maya deity sculpture also shows how the soldiers or guards used to dress during those ancient times. The rain deity among the Mayan people symbolized the hope in agriculture (Coe).
This sculpture is called the Maya Chaahk sculpture. It is situated in New York at the Metropolitan Museum. The sculpture is made out of limestone. According to the records, the art was created in the 9th century. This sculpture has been stated to be the Maya rain deity. According to its history, it states that this figure was claimed to be a Chaahk that was carrying a lightening axe. The Chaahk is stated to strike the clouds that will cause the production of rain and thunder (Eltringham).
The art sculpture
According some reports, it has indicated that the Mayan art during the later years it was influenced by the Mexican art. The art became more aggressive with stronger rendering. The images were more about the war related things. In looking at this sculpture, this kind of style is evident because the figure in the sculpture seems to be a soldier or warrior. These kind of sculptures that has adopted the Mexican theme shows how the Mayan people were in contact with the Mexican people (Coe). The towering figure seems to be a man who was a soldier or guardian. The figure is standing tall amongst all the people looking down upon them.
In one hand, the figure is carrying an object that is long. The object can be claimed to be a club. The reason for stating this fact is because of the two depressions contained in the object. The two depressions would have been one side for the volcanic glass and the other side for the inlay of the blades of obsidian. The Mayan warriors or guards used the club to protect or fight in wars (Eltringham). The other hand seems to be missing. There is a possibility that the hand was carrying a shield. The reason for suggesting such a fact is that warriors during the ancient Mayan times used to carry clubs on one side and a shield on the other hand. This was done in order to protect themselves from harm during wars.
On the head of the figure, there seems to be the facial armor. This armor was crucial for the warriors and the guards to wear in order to protect their heads from injuries in case they were attacked. The body of the figure seems to be rigid and blocky. This body language can be observed by warriors or soldiers in the modern times. The figure in the sculpture was dressed in a loincloth. This was a custom for the Mayan soldiers and the ancient times warriors (Sylvanus). The figure in the sculpture also seems to be wearing a helmet. This helmet used to be worn by the warriors especially during the times of war. The guards also used to wear them especially when they were protecting someone. There is a large emblematic knot at the neck of the figure (Eltringham).
Comparison with other works
The sculpture has had a great deal of success if compared to other sculptures. The reason for this is because of the uniqueness of the sculpture. The sculpture appears to be more lifelike than any other sculptures. This fact gives people the impression of how life was for the Mayan people. The sculpture has become more successful if compared to the others because of the history behind the figure. There are many stories about the sculpture in that the story itself makes the sculpture to be more endearing. People want to know more about the story behind the sculpture. This makes it to be very successful among other sculptures. According to the myths, it is believed that the Mayan deity brings about good harvest (Coe). The Maya sculptures are also known for their beauty. This fact includes the Maya deity sculpture.
The other sculpture that is similar to the Maya deity is the warrior of Capistrano. This sculpture was also made out of limestone. A laborer discovered this sculpture in 1934. The sculpture has been stated to have been created around the 6th BC. In looking at the sculpture, it shows that there are some traces of pink paint. The figure of the sculpture can be stated to be a Mexican soldier. The sculpture contains a tall man who is holding his sword to his chest. He seems to be holding a small sword tightly to his chest with both of his arms. The figure seems also to have an axe with him.
The figure is wearing a disk type of body armor. The small sword holding and the body armor proves that this figure represents a soldier (Basile). The armor is used to protect the solders back and chest. The figure seems to have a Mitra, which is usually worn like an apron. This gadget is usually used as defensive device for the solders. The sculpture also has a wide belt and armlets. The facts usually symbolize soldiers. The figure seems to be wearing a necklace. The figure is wearing a huge hat that has huge brim. This kind of hats can be seen among Mexicans. This fact therefore means that the soldier represented in this figure came from Mexico. When the statue was discovered, it is stated that it was above the Iron Age cemetery.
There are also claims that there is a female like figure that was also discovered in the same place. There are major differences between the two sculptures. The Maya sculpture, which was created in the 9th century, seemed to have aged badly in that the sculpture does not have one hand (Robert). In the warrior of Capestrano, which was created in the 6th century earlier than the Maya deity seems to have all its parts intact. There could be a number of reasons for these events such as the Maya of deity was destroyed during the wars while the Capestrano sculpture was at a place where war did not reach it. The sculpture has not had as much success as that of the Maya deity sculpture (Eltringham).
The Maya deity sculpture is a very unique and beautiful sculpture. The reason for stating this fact is because of the history behind the sculpture. When looking at the figure, one could clearly see that it represented a warrior or guard. In appearance, the figure looked rigid and ready for anything. That is the impression that I saw from the figure. This indicated that the warrior was alert and ready for a battle. This would have indicated a sense of security that there was at that time. The way the figure was holding the weapon in that one hand showed confidence in the warrior. According to most researches, it has indicated that the Mayan people were good in artwork (Coe). This fact can be proven to be true because of the numerous paintings, architects and sculptures that exist in the world.
The sculptures are well created and they seem to be life like. The meaning of this fact is that the figure in the sculpture resembles a person. The mythology behind the structure is also interesting. The figure in the structure being claimed to be Chaac who was responsible to patron agriculture (O'Neil). This means that he helped in ensuring that people had food in the society. The figure is holding a club, which has been stated to be used to pursue the sun and the mood. In looking at this art and whole of its history and myths, it makes one want to continue looking at it. This will make people understand the reasons why it became as popular as it did. In looking at other artifacts such as the sculpture of Capestorone, the history behind the sculpture is unknown. This makes people wonder what exactly the figure truly represents. This is the reason why its success has not been as huge as that of the Maya deity sculpture.
Basile, Joe. The Capestrano Warrior and Related Monuments of the Seventh to Fifth Centuries B.C. Revue des archéologues et historiens d’art de Louvain, 1993. Print
Coe, Michael. The Maya: Seventh Edition. New York: Thames & Hudson Inc, 2005. Print
Eltringham, Peter. The Maya World: The Rough Guide. New York: Penguin Books Inc, 1999. Print
O'Neil, Megan E. Engaging Ancient Maya Sculpture at Piedras Negras, Guatemala. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma, 2014. Print
Robert J. Sharer, Loa P. Traxler. The Ancient Maya. Stanford University Press, 2006. Print
Sylvanus Griswold Morley, George Walton Brainerd. The Ancient Maya. Stanford University Press, 1983. Print