There has been a fascination in my life and experience with the colossal force of Maya Art in Mesoamerica. This has become very clear as more archeological discoveries in the mid and late twentieth century have been made in Mexico and Guatemala. As more and more neglected sites in the jungles were investigated and studied, it became a body of work that was recognized as a major cultural heritage, it became an important discipline for others, like linguists and historians who needed to review, rewrite, and correct the erroneous historical picture created by the conquistadors.
The importance of these ancient artists, their development, the intelligence of the early populations throughout this new-found land is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. The recent work of art historians has brought important information about the work of the Maya, their artists and their culture.
At first it was acknowledged that the Maya had very sophisticated hieroglyphics. The code, which they used, remained a mystery for more than four hundred years.
They were, above all, great communicators. It was very important for them to tell the history of their religion and their gods, about rulers, many of their customs, sports and their society as a whole.
In their works we can recognize the importance of corn for their society, as the most basic source of food and sustenance. We can see the everyday life of their people depicted in their pottery, in their sculpture, and in their murals, describing important events happening to their rulers and the general populus.
The idea that they were mathematicians must have been a serious threat to the "conquistadors". The Maya had the concept of zero, and were excellent accountants by the way they kept running figures on the wealth of many of the rulers. "Cacao beans" were a representation of an individual's wealth, along with many other significant designations; they kept track of almost everything in their culture.
What is very important in this day and age is that after four hundred years we are finally learning the greatness of their work, the intelligence of their leaders, and the massive civilization that they had created.
Today it is recognized that the Maya developed the highest native civilization of the New World, a civilization that rivaled ancient ones in Egypt and Greece.