Quiché Maya

Topics: Maya civilization, Creation myth, Mesoamerica Pages: 4 (1429 words) Published: October 26, 2010
Quiché Maya
The piece of literature, The Wooden People from the Popol Vuh, a Quiché Mayan myth, is a representation of the life, times, and cultural values of the Mayan culture of Mexico in the 16th century. The exact year it was written in is unknown. This myth is a Mayan creation story translated by Dennis Tedlock. The wooden people in the story refer to the first humans that the Maker, the Quiché Mayan god of creation, made out of wood. He grew displeased with his creation however, and so he sent a great flood to destroy them, very similar to the Great Flood in the Bible. As the rain fell, everything around the wooden manikins came to life and spoke out against them, fed up with how they had been treated. The animals scrutinized the manikins harshly and said they would eat them as the manikins had eaten the animals. Tools of the manikins came alive and turned against them also. As a result, the manikin society was destroyed, and the myth suggests that the survivors fled into the forests and became monkeys; which is why monkeys bear similar resemblance to humans. Many aspects of daily life for the Quiché Mayan people contributed to the details in this myth, such as the significance of the jaguar, the importance of their main crop maize, and their amazing feats in Astronomy . The ancient Mayans worshipped the jaguar as a god of the upper and under worlds. In later civilizations, it became the symbol of war (Bunson). The jaguar “seemed to demonstrate

social status specifically with strong, powerful and leading members of society” (Saunders and Graham-Campbell). Ancient warriors and Maya kings would wear jaguar pelts as a main component in their armor as a sign of their strength and prowess. The jaguar is referred to as balam in many Maya languages (Saunders and Graham-Campbell). “The term balam, as well as certain of the living animal's physical attributes, appear[ed] to have signified lordship. In the Popol Vuh, the term balam referred to magical...
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