Ancient Mexico Imports

Maya Burrial Mask (King Pacal)

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Maya Burrial Mask (King Pacal)

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Quick Overview

Ancient Mayan Pottery, Mayan Masks and the Afterlife

The Maya greatly respected death; they feared it and grieved deeply for the dead. They also believed that certain deaths were more noble than others. People who died by suicide, sacrifice, complications of childbirth and in battle were thought to be transported directly into heaven. The guilty and evil suffered eternally in Xilbalba, the Maya underworld. Death was thought of as a journey, with the possibility of rebirth and certain individuals, important to their lineage, became deities that acted as patrons for the surviving family and many subsequent generations.

Tombs were filled with precious goods including fine polychrome pottery, effigy figurines, jade and marble pieces, masks, mushroom figures, obsidian, exotic shells and valuable stones. In some instances, members of the royal family or young attendants would be sacrificed to accompany a lord in death.

The dead were laid to rest with maize placed in their mouth. Maize, highly important in Maya culture, is a symbol of rebirth and also was food for the dead for the journey to the otherworld. Similarly, a jade or stone bead placed in the mouth served as currency for this journey.

The Maya believed in a cyclical nature of time. Maya priest provided prophetic outlook on the future or past based on the number relations of their calendars and significant past dates such as birth. If the interpretations of the priests spelled bad times to come, offerings and sacrifices would be performed with the intention of satisfying the gods. Offerings were provided to the gods in purified vessels.

The Maya believed that the cosmos has three major planes, the sky, the underworld, and the earth. Heaven was thought to have thirteen different layers or levels where various gods dwelt. The night sky was considered a window showing all supernatural doings. The Maya configured constellations of gods and places, saw the unfolding of narratives in their seasonal movements, and believed that the intersection of all possible worlds was in the night sky.

The Maya believed that the universe was flat and square, but infinite in area. They also worshipped the circle, which symbolized perfection or the balancing of forces. The Maya assigned colors to each of the cardinal directions. The east is red, the south is green or yellow, the west is black and north is white. The Maya also recognized a fifth direction of center, which existed everywhere. The center was conceptualized by the Maya as a giant ceiba tree, the trunk of which connected the heavens the earth and underworld. Sacred rituals and healing ceremonies also give great importance to the four elements found in nature: water, air, fire, and earth.

The Maya were fascinated by time. They believed that the date on which a person was born determined their fate throughout life. Philosophically, the Maya believed that knowing the past meant knowing the cyclical influences that create the present, and by knowing the influences of the present one can foretell the cyclical influences to the future.

*Mask can be displayed on a stand or mounted on a wall with proper mounting hardware. (due to the many individual choices to display this item, mounting hardware is not included)

Product Description

King Pacal Burial Mask, Palenque Chiapas

Unique piece, only 1 available. Hand made of fired clay. 11" tall x 8" wide x 4.5 depth, weight = 6 lbs. As with intricate hand made objects, slight imperfections exist.

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