Saturday, 8 June 2013

Touring The Caves Of The Mayan Civilization

By Linda Patterson


Can you picture out the world around 1500 BC? It would be an unspoiled, lush green and uninhabited land wherein no one exactly knows what lies across the river or what is on the other side of the forests. Our Mayan ancestors were once in this situation wherein they wandered the Mesoamerican basin looking for a place to settle down. For a race that deemed water to generally be the most sacred of all of the elements, a cave was an excellent location to create a settlement.

The significance of caves to the Mayans

In Mesoamerica, ancient civilizations had a multi-pronged approach with regards to caves and Mayans are not exempted in this rule. Being considered to be a fountain of water in forms of streams and rainfall, a cave worked as a temple of the Mayans, and as a border between the other world and this world as well as being a place of art expression. This world is the most visible and it is therefore being appreciated by people embarking on historical adventure tours through the Mayan ruins.

The caves are regarded by the Mayans to be the residence of Rain God Chaak and where they conducted their many different rituals to honor their deity. In the Mayan site in Guatemala called Peten, there is a chasm named Grieta and if you are one of those history lovers and want to witness this reverence then you should embark on adventure tours to Peten. Through close examination of the cave's environment, you would see remnants of the many rain related rituals. One other cave that served as a Mayan temple committed to the Rain God was discovered to feature a stalagmite sculpted to look like the deity as well as with a lightening axe.

After the archaeologists have deduced that the numerous Mayan temples were locked and bastioned with underground passages they have realized the importance of caves in the Mayan civilization which also played a seminal role in cosmology. In fact, these subway or surface features served up as canvas for hopeful artists at the same time hence validating the fact that cave art was amongst the first types of artistic expressions put into practice by humankind. Most of the content centered on natural surroundings on the subject of animals coexisting with human beings, handprints, footprints as well as geometric patterns.

Black and red are some of the most commonly used colors adorning the walls of a Mayan temple while shades of blue and yellow were hardly seen. Whilst charcoal was relied upon as a resource for black sometimes some other elements such as manganese were furthermore resorted to for getting black pigmentation. Red was obtained from inside of the cave itself courtesy of clay which comprised a high percentage of iron. Because this particular red had an orange tinge to it, artists who have been desirous of shades that are deeper and brighter utilized hematite in order to complete the end result.

Rock sculptures, glyphs carved out of stones as well as objects created from precious elements like Jade and obsidian are the other constituents of Mayan caves. Adventure tourists have also found pieces of pottery and altars of worship which validated the fact that a cave in the Mayan era was deemed to be sacred as it served as a temple for the Mayans. Worship was possibly communal or individual and although the previous required leaving a part of pottery in certain other part of the cave, the second needed ceremonial pottery for use together with the altar of worship.

The caves are deemed to be linked to life and death by the Mayans just like other Mesoamerican tribes; they believe that anything coming from the cave was born into the world and going into the recesses of the cave was departing from the world which to them implies facing death. Thereby if you want to travel down the memory lane as well as live through the lives of our 'cave-dwelling' ancestors, you then ought to plan a visit to a Mayan temple.




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