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Drawing From the Past
Maya Antiquity Through the Eyes of Frederick Catherwood

Plate 13, General View of Uxmal, Taken from the Archway of Las Monjas, Looking South

Plate 13, General View of Uxmal, Taken from the Archway of Las Monjas, Looking South

Plate 13, General View of Uxmal,
Taken from the Archway of Las Monjas, Looking South

Local descendants of the ancient Maya relax by the south gate of the Nunnery Quadrangle of Uxmal, surrounded by lush and tangled greenery. In contrast, the ancient ruins in the background have a dry, dusty feel that reminds one of Catherwood’s previous travels to Egypt, Greece and Palestine. The buildings seen in the distance include the House of the Governor (also seen in Plates 9 and 10).

In Maya religion there were thirteen gods of the upper world and nine lords of the underworld. The Maya placed the buildings at Uxmal (seen in the background of this print) upon natural hills in order to bring the sacred structures closer to the heavens. This notion was similar to the Maya’s story of the rising and setting of the sun. The Maya believed that during the day, the sun was in the realm of the upper world, and during the night it had to battle its way through the underworld in order to return to its place in the heavens. These concepts were an essential part of Maya religion, which organized daily life. [Spanish version].

CHARLOTTE BALLANTINE and MERCEDES PEPPER

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