Talk:Ancient Maya art

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More work[edit]

This needs a lot more work, pictures, etc. I've started this with the intention of adding more later.Akubra 20:21, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Work in stucco[edit]

Mayan stucco needs a lot more attention! Take the marvellous portrait modelling done in stucco (Palenque kings!), the roof combs and temple facades! All of this is exceptional in Mesoamerica (and in Precolumbian civilizations anywhere)! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


It'd be awesome if anyone felt like rewriting this at some point; it feels like a middle-schooler posted their report on here. The diction is simplistic, and terms like lintels aren't defined or elaborated on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Illustration Policy[edit]

Minor items from private collections should preferably not be used as illustrations, since their authenticity may be debatable. In this case, the jadeite plaque is an obvious forgery, and should be removed. (talk) 00:49, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Sure, have no real issue with that proposal (if a pic is meant to illustrate some genuine cultural artefact then need to be sure of its bona fides). Makes sense. There was a time when we had relatively few properly licensed pics of Mesoam artefacts on wiki that were of pieces from collections of known provenance and reliability; this is no longer such an issue so we can afford to be pickier about what pics get used for illustrative purposes. No objection to removal of that particular img. --cjllw ʘ TALK 23:34, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Obvious fraud?[edit]

I am reinserting the Mayan Jade Pectoral mage from the Maya Classic period as I don't know how (talk) was able to make the decision on 14 October, 2008 from just looking at the photo that it is "an obvious forgery." It has been handled and checked by various experts who, beyond determining that it was made of an unusually large piece of genuine jadeite, were unable to say whether or not it was genuine (i.e. they could find no grounds for declaring it a fake) - which is also the case with most (if not all) unprovenanced "Mayan" jades in museum collections - including large and famous ones. If the person at 77.162.139 can give plausible reasons for his or her claim, I will be happy to remove it. John Hill (talk) 10:15, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

The problem is, that if this artefact is unprovenanced, and if (as you say) examination of it by various experts cannot determine its authenticity, then we should not really be labelling it in the article as a Maya piece from the Classic period. Sure, there are museum and well-known pieces in a similar situation, but for these we can at least and with justification fall back on some verifiable and reliably-sourced statement about what the piece is, or isn't. But for unauthenticated unprovenanced pieces in private collections we have nothing, really, to back up any statement or description of the object. --cjllw ʘ TALK 06:21, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Iconographically, a clever fake is usually a combination of traits taken from various published sources and some undefinable additions invented by the faker. In this case, the 'swirl' on the head could have been taken from Yaxchilan (e.g., stela 33, or lintel 3), the square shield with what should probably suggest the jaguar deity of the number Seven from Aguateca (e.g., stela 2). The speech symbol in front of the face is unlike anything I have ever seen in Classic Maya art, and highly suspicious, as are the undefinable ornaments to the forefront of the swirl and the underside of the shield. The shape of the eye and the parallel curving lines under the dancer's feet are equally unusual. Taken together, you have every reason to feel highly uncomfortable about this jade. For the rest, I can only agree with the other critic. You should no longer oppose removal of the picture from the article. (talk) 00:38, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Since the above arguments have not been countered, I have removed the picture. (talk) 03:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

cleaning up[edit]

I have removed a lot of nonsense and redundancy, and tried to bring in some real information. This is just a beginning, the article needs a lot of work. (talk) 18:48, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

What about the dramatical arts?[edit]

The article gives of an overview of the visual arts, but omits the dramatic arts (dance, dance drama, and music). Should the latter better be treated in a separate article? (talk) 20:34, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I introduced a lot of new info in the article, changed the order of the sections, removed duplicates from the 'Maya architecture' article, and reformulated quite a few things. Some pictures were exchanged for others. As it now is, the article is still far from ideal, but no longer a source of shame. - By the way, for some reason I can't see the page ratings any more. (talk) 14:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Changes to the illustrations of Maya art[edit]

Dear User (, I appreciate your interest for "Maya art", but don't think your changes to the text and illustrations are an improvement, and I would therefore like to know your reasons for the removal of pictures I had added and for the substitutions you introduced. The text: Of course, many Maya objects were destroyed by the Spaniards, just as many art objects were destroyed in European and other wars; this is hardly useful information. And what about these "large wood carvings" from the Mamean area? You provide no references, and I simply don't know what you are referring to. Then, the illustrations. Your pictures include a bad photograph of a Tikal lintel, which for that very reason I did not include, but which could in any case immediately be accessed by clicking on the reference in the text; a photo of a copy of a codex instead of the codex itself, wrongly called "Copan codex"; two photo's of replicas and reproductions instead of the real objects; and a bad picture of a Cacaxtla mural, wrongly subtitled 'Ball players'. Then you illustrate the book section by a codex-style ceramic scene while you removed a codex-style ceramic scene from the ceramic section, why? Instead you inserted a Chamá vase wrongly called "codex type" and substituted one ceramic figurine for another, why? The San Bartolo mural can easily be found in the San Bartolo article; I did not include it because I wanted to avoid drowning the text in illustrations that can easily be accessed elsewhere. I could add some other critical observations, but I hope this is enough to show you why I believe the article should be restored to its previous state. (talk) 19:46, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

I restored the article back to its previous state. I removed the added text in the Wood sculpture section, partly since no adequate reference could be given; and also the two Wood sculpture pictures, one for the reason stated above, the Belgian statue since it is unknown from the literature and might well be a fake, suspiciously looking as it does like a famous ceramic full figure Jaina figurine in the Museo Nacional de A. y H. in Mexico City. I also removed the Palenque "stone" relief from the Stone sculpture section, since it is actually a stucco relief. (talk) 00:08, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

I support the reversion to the previous version, the changes introduced by the IP were not overall an improvement.·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 00:37, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm sorry but I disagree. There are several reasons so.

There have been several wood figures in poor condition excavated from Mam-Mayan sites such as Zaceleu and Xela to name a few, all such figures being of kings and religious figures as was common in Maya society. In the article I have now included citation which explains in greater depth, the patronage system which is why many maya works of art were of such figures. I included the Tikal Lintel because it is one of the best known examples of Maya woodwork. Please understand if wikipedia had better images to substitute it I would use them but wiki's media library regarding Maya artifacts dose not have great pictures of everything.

Regarding the murals, i added the San Bartolo mural because it is the oldest known Maya mural discovered intact. Thank you for pointing out the incorrect "ball player" caption. I intended to put a mural of ball players and put this one instead without changing the correct image filename. I shall change it to the better ball player image once i locate it on wikimedia once more but for now have edited the caption with the correct information.

The ceramic vessel scan I added to the ceramics section is both a codex style AND chama style vessel. Codex type simply means that they are "Ceramic scenes and texts painted in black and red on a white underground, the equivalents of pages from the lost folding books, are referred to as being in 'codex style'." Chama style refers to their location of origin and the actual artistic style. I replaced the previous image of the codex with the one at Copan because, it is opened wide and displayed more visual representation, but feel free to change it back if you would like.

The books and hieroglyph section features heavily on the maya codices, as many of the ceramics are considered codices I thought it was appropriate for me to add the image. Additionall it is a scene from the Popol Vuh, perhaps the best known work of Maya writing, therefore I thought it was fitting.

I used photos of reproductions soley because there are not photos of these originals on wikipedia atm, however were there to be I would rather have them displayed. (talk) 22:50, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Again: picture problems[edit]

Dear "collaborator", you seem to be unwilling or unable to listen to arguments. I again removed the ugly and badly lighted Tikal lintel photograph as well as your statement about art being commissioned, a thing too obvious to mention, and your reference to an unreliable source, another website with Maya art. I left your wooden statue standing, though. Then I put the Jaina figurine back that you had removed without any justification. I, too, love the Musée d'Auch, but the original picture is much more typical of the Jaina style at its best, and, moreover, depicts a completely authenticated specimen. (talk) 10:42, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Out-of-place bit of info removed from "Mural Painting"[edit]

The four directions and their colours belong to cosmology and are treated in the Maya Religion article. The compass was not "invented" by the Mayas, and a fourfold division of the world is a nearly universal trait of ancient thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Why not Mayan art?[edit]

Why is Ancient Maya art preferable to Ancient Mayan art? RO(talk) 23:20, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

  • In the English tradition of Maya studies there is a preference for using the adjective "Mayan" with reference to the language or languages, whereas “Maya” is used when referring to people, places, and culture, without distinction between singular or plural.