Mayan myths and misconceptions
December 26, 2011 00:12:00, source: Metro
Phylicia TorrevillasMetro CanadaJustin Jennings, lead curator of the exhibition Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World at the Royal Ontario Museum, tells Metro why the Maya civilization is one of the most impressive in human history and sheds light on some of the most widespread myths about the ancient Maya.
The ancient Mayans went to extreme lengths to transform their bodies through tattooing, face painting and body piercing. They did cranial modification where they wrapped up and tied boards to the heads of newborn babies to reshape the skull. They also filed their teeth. (Photo contributed)
The cacao plant is from the part of the world where the Mayans lived — Mexico and parts of South America. It was an elite drink and only few people could get their hands on it. The nobles drank a mix of chocolate, corn and water, sometimes with chili. Instead of a sweet drink, it would be bitter, spicy and foamy, like a cappuccino. (Photo Contributed)
Piercing the skin and allowing the blood to flow was carried out to communicate with gods and ancestors for advice. They would prick the skin with a stingray spine, bone or rock and collect the blood in a pot with cotton cloth and burn it. A vision serpent would appear in the flames.(Photo: Jorge Perez de Lara/Royal Ontario Museum)
Maya culture is not dead. There are 10 million Mayan people today. Many of their city-states and the idea of the sacred rulers that organized these cities died out. Maya is not an empire. It was never unified by a single governing body, but made up of numerous independent city-states with a common culture. (Photo:Justin Jennings/Royal Ontario Museum)