Monday, January 7, 2013

Prep for next session

 Wiki Maya Death Rituals:

"The Maya 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. Often, whistles carved from rocks into the shapes of gods or animals were included in the grave offerings to help the deceased find their way to the spirit world. The Maya associated the color red with death and rebirth and often covered graves and skeletalremains with cinnabar. The bodies of the dead were wrapped in cotton mantles before being buried. Burial sites were oriented to provide access to the otherworld. Graves faced north or west, in the directions of the Maya heavens, and others were located in caves, entrances to the underworld.
Burial practices of the Maya changed over the course of time. In the late Preclassic period, people were buried in a flexed position, later the dead were laid to rest in an extended position. In the late Classic period, the elite constructed vaulted tombs, and some rulers ordered the construction of large burial complexes. In the Postclassic periodcremation became more common.


There have been many archaeological discoveries of lavish tombs within ceremonial complexes from the Classic period. However, only a Maya city’s most important ruler was buried in this way. These aristocrats were placed in tombs at the bottoms of funerary pyramids that sometimes consisted of nine stepped platforms, perhaps symbolizing the nine layers of the underworld. Other temples were constructed with 13 vaults the symbolizing the layers of the heavens in Maya cosmology. These temples reflected the continued worship of these nobles. In some instances, members of the royal family or young attendants would be sacrificed to accompany the lord in death.
The tombs were filled with precious goods including fine polychrome pottery, effigy figurines, jade and marble pieces, masks, mushroom figures. While these figures were found in Maya tombs, many of these items were also used in the service of food, drink and for additional ritual purposes.[1] Obsidian and exotic shells have also been found in Mayan tombs.
Other elite members of society were buried in vaults. The bodies of higher-ranking members of society were buried inside sarcophagi. They sometimes were buried in crypts or underneath the family home. These funerary constructions of the royal often destroyed the residence itself. Commoners were also buried near or under their houses. These graves did not have extensive burial offerings, but often contained objects that identified the individual: a tool or possession."
Example ceramic artifact from the complex
Example Lintel
Example jade artifacts and burial goods
Example Stela
3D Map of Tikal (Tikal = Hawawa Complex of my 4e game)

Google Image Search:  Mayan Lintel
Google Image Search: Mayan Burial Mask
Google Image Search: Mayan Stellae

1 comment:

  1. I love seeing this kind of stuff a lot. (I play Antillia in the current 4e campaign, if you didn't know already) I was having a discussion with the player for Beautiful Bob about this post and realized one thing: Often we can't completely recall why we're going somewhere, or for what reason, but we don't care... because the scenery is so damn awesome. You can't really say that about a roleplaying game on a regular basis. Usually there is some driving force that compels players to go somewhere. The scenery and journey often ends up being a hurdle, or challenge, more than the reason people want to go in the first place. I think the more than famous quote applies to our situation,

    “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” - Greg Anderson

    I feel this applies to many campaigns, but isn't usually the driving force behind going somewhere. I know that there are others out there who have had a similar experience, but it's not a very common thing where someone tells me that they went to check out the Mayan like temple just because it looked awesome. Usually they were seeking treasure or big bad beasties. Usually that kind of appreciation comes from looking back, not before you even get started.


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