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The Maya Culture Essay

2904 words - 12 pages

The Maya CultureWorld history had a variety of cultures that contribute to our societies. One of the cultures is the Maya. Throughout their history the Maya were in contact with other groups of Indians on all sides, particularly with the nations of Mexico. For long periods sections of the Maya were under the political domination of Mexican rulers. Under such circumstances intermarriages must have been frequent. The Maya are therefore as mixed a race as most European peoples. The Maya country varied in its climate. The greatest developments were the center of the lowlands and highlands of northern Guatemala. It also included the Yucatan Peninsula, the northwest to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and southwest into Honduras and El Salvador (Brainerd 7). The Maya culture had interesting aspects in their civilization or that they accomplished over time. The important aspects of the Mayas are their physical characteristics, how they dress, their social organization, the agriculture, art and techniques, religion, god and goddesses, architecture, trade, mathematics and government.The physical characteristics of the Maya culture are the following; they were short, long-bodied, and chunky, with good muscle development and a tendency to gain weight. The heads were broad, lips prominent, noses had a high convex bridge and curved pendulous tip. The chin and forehead were somewhat receding, eyes had a mongoloid cast with heavy lids and cheekbones were prominent. Skin color varied from medium to dark-brown, and the hair was black, straight to rarely wavy (Brainerd 9). A greater physical variability among the highlands Maya, the language diversity, and the historical accounts all suggest that they have been subject to much more outside influence than have the lowland peoples. The Maya language is spoken by most Yucatecans. But many of them do not speak Spanish. There is evidence of impoverishment of Maya vocabulary over the last 200 years, but the language is still in good form (Brainerd 10).In the warm climate of the Maya area, clothing as protection from the elements had never been a necessity. Maya clothing was used as decoration and the most spectacular clothes were for the priest. The Maya personages wore large earplugs, necklaces, breastplates, ornaments attached to the nose, lips, waist, legs, arms, all were used for resplendent effect (Brainerd 68). Mayan peasants wore very little. The men had a simple loincloth or rather a band of material that went once around their waist and then between their legs. Some at least possessed deerskin moccasins. The women had two garments a length of decorated cloth with holes cut for head and arms, known as a kub. Man and women used a heavier square of cloth known as a manta, which served as an overwrap on cold days, and as a night time blanket. The manta was used as a curtain across the doorway. Cotton and sisal were cultivated on a considerable scale, and weaving was one of the main occupations of Mayan women. Authorities...

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