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Ancestor emerging from a flower


Not on view

In Maya thought, the bones of the dead are comparable to plant seeds that carry progeny and fertilize the earth. The old man here is an ancestor, growing like flowers in the afterlife. These objects functioned as whistles: blowing into the stem would create sounds that animated the rituals in which they were used.

Ancestro emergiendo de una flor
Isla de Jaina, Campeche, México
Siglo VII al IX
Cerámica, pigmento

Para los mayas, los huesos de los difuntos eran comparables a las semillas de las plantas, capaces de reproducirse y fertilizar la tierra. Este anciano representa un ancestro, que crecen como flores en el más allá. Estas piezas funcionaban como silbatos; al soplar el tallo se producían sonidos que animaban los rituales en los que se utilizaban.

Ancestor emerging from a flower, Ceramic, pigment, Maya

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Secretaría de Cultura–Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), Mexico, reproduction authorized by INAH; photo by Jorge Perez de Lara