It has virtually no nutritional value but, as we all know, it's uniquely able to liven up dull carbohydrates - and it shows that we've been foodies for as long as we've been farmers. Download (right click & “save target as”), Part of After the Ice Age: Food and Sex (9000 - 3500 BC), Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline. There were no easily domesticated animals - as you would find pigs, sheep or cattle elsewhere - and the staples were a trinity of plants that were slowly cultivated and tamed: squashes, beans and maize. Nine thousand years ago, the maize cob was very hard, and eating it raw would have made you very ill. Each original piece goes through a certification process to guarantee best value and premium quality. google_ad_format="120x600_as"; 'It's always present in one way or another - either to be eaten, or to be looked at, or to be worshipped. The Maya objects in this room are from Mexico but this culture, which is still very much alive, stretches through Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. So they spoke; the bearer, begetter, the makers, modellers - and a sovereign plumed serpent - they sought and discovered what was needed for human flesh. This limestone statue of a Mayan maize god was found in Copán , Honduras. Shop unique, award-winning Artisan treasures by NOVICA, the Impact Marketplace. Material: Stone The statue is of the Mayan maize god. Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. There were eight mythological beings, four women and four men, who are the ancestors of all the Maya people. Desire, love and … Read more. So even today for some people it's unthinkable that maize, the divine food, should end up in a petrol tank. It became a staple for poor rural European populations since its yield was much higher than wheat. Photo: Jerry Driendl, Map showing where this object was found. British Museum. After all that, it had to be ground into a paste and then made into an unleavened dough. The god of maize expected his disciples to work hard for their supper. British Museum. The Maya maize god. Early farmers in Mexico grew chilli to make their maize taste better The statue is of the Mayan maize god. The Spanish brought corn to Europe where it easily adapted to the local conditions. The statue was commissioned by the 13th ruler of Copán , Waxaklajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, also known as … Read Maya Maize God Statue by with a free trial. In Mayan mythology, the maize god was decapitated at harvest time but reborn again at the beginning of a new growing season. Head of Interpretation and Volunteers, Stuart Frost, highlights objects from the tour and looks at stories that, until recently, have been overlooked or underrepresented in museums and galleries. Originally this statue would have sat with many other similar gods high up on a stepped pyramid-style temple in western Honduras. At some stage there will always be maize around, and it jumps any class barrier or identity. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. Their father was defeated by the Lords of Death in the Underworld. Photo by BabelStone. google_ad_host="pub-6693688277674466"; View and buy royalty free and rights managed stock photos at The British Museum Images. Explore the collection See all. By the seventeenth century around 60% of the diet of southern Europe consisted of untreated corn. This elaborate process of boiling the raw kernel in lime and water was essential. Read unlimited* books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. 10% off for Members Become a Member and enjoy a 10% discount at all of the Museum's shops. Object 9 of 100. Corn is different from other cereals: its nutrients are encapsulated in solid particles that do not crack with heat or water. The culinary secrets of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures had not been learned. Why not wheat or a certain type of meat? Collection online showcases more than four million of the Museum's objects. Maize was the Mayan's most important food source. Even today, maize still dominates much of Mexican cuisine, and it still carries a surprisingly powerful religious and metaphorical charge, as restaurateur Santiago Calva knows only too well: 'The continuous spin-offs of maize into daily life is vast and complex. Museum stories Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories A new audio commentary tour exploring LGBTQ histories in the Museum’s collection has just been launched. In this part of the world at this time around nine thousand years ago, other food resources were very thin on the ground. From the masa tortillas, tostadas, totopos, sopes, tlacoyos, chalupas and other Mexican streetfoods are baked. Well beyond Mexico, the idea of genetic modification of crops still causes deep unease, as much religious as scientific - a sense that the natural order is being disturbed, that humans are trespassing on territory that's properly reserved for the gods. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. From the 1730s symptoms of digestive disturbances, dementia and death were recorded. But crucially, maize is a rich carbohydrate that gives you a rapid energy hit. At this point, the Popol Vuh goes back in time to explain who the twins’ ancestors were. Instead they imported wheat and with it they baked bread. The El-Amra clay model of cattle is a small ceramic sculpture dating from the Predynastic, Naqada I period in Ancient Egypt, at around 3500 BC. For them, lime was synonymous with death, as they used lime to disintegrate organic matter. google_ad_client="pub-8187633211219907"; The Maya believed that their ancestors essentially came from corn, and they were formed of yellow and white maize dough. Read more. We'll be in Japan, with some of the oldest pottery in the world, and the birth of the stew. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The sound of worship coming from a Christian Church in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, indicates where the local Indian population are offering their god, not just their devotion, but also their food - it's a practice they've been following for thousands of years. Maya maize god statue, British Museum WLA lacma Tripod Vessel with Rattles Maya Maya Vessel with an enthroned Lord Kimbell Maya sculpture Louvre MH 82-17-26 Maya maize god statue, British Museum 1 Maya vessel with sacrificial scene DMA 2005-26 WLA metmuseum Maya Vessel with Mythological Scene 8th C Desire, love and … Under the Mexica ruler, Moctezuma, corn became a symbol of life and fertility and was offered to the Gods as sacrifice. It needed to be cooked in a mixture of water and white lime. google_ad_type="text_image"; The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum. Neil focuses on the world of the Mayan civilisation and a stone Maize God, discovered … This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Explore the collection See all. A common medium of Maya sculpture that is almost entirely lost to observers today is that of wood. In the Classic period (200-900 AD), the maize deity shows aspects of a culture hero . The Spanish conquistadores did not understand the need for lime. 10% off for Members Become a Member and enjoy a 10% discount at all of the Museum's shops. This statue shows the Maya maize god as a youthful and handsome man with a stylised corn headdress. It provides a visual starting point for exploration of the importance of corn and of the harvest cycle as well as the religious beliefs of the Maya. Especially when you take corn to be used for other purposes other than to be eaten or be worshipped, but rather to be put into a car - it becomes a highly controversial issue.'. Here, in the heart of the British Museum, we have a god of maize. Am 1923, Maud 8. This willingness to venerate the food on our plate seems to arrive at a particular moment in human development - and it tells us much more about a society than its favourite supper dish. The Maya maize god. google_ad_width=120; Stone. Ming banknote from China. Maize was certainly a primary focus of ritual and religious veneration by ancient Meso-American people, going back all the way before the Maya and even into the Olmec civilisation.'. And, as they did so, everywhere stories about gods emerged; gods of death and of rebirth, gods who would guarantee the cycle of the seasons and ensure the return of the crops, and gods - more importantly - that represent food itself. The white corn masa so loved and revered today in Mexico and amongst Mexican communities abroad is still largely unknown to bakers across the world. Ancient Mayan art is about the material arts of the Mayan civilization, an eastern and south-eastern Mesoamerican culture shared by a great number of kingdoms in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and western Honduras. The first exhibition in the revamped galleries of the British Museum brings together innumerable and beautiful images of humans from Congolese masks to Yemeni grave markers to Mayan maize … Early farmers in Mexico grew chilli to make their maize taste better. Jaguar God Figure - Archaeological Museum - Fort of San Miguel - Campeche - Mexico.jpg 2,736 × 3,648; 1.79 MB Jaguar Maya Collection H Law 156 n2.jpg 3,027 × 2,724; 6.54 MB Jaguar paddler god, Ixlu Stela 2.jpg 1,631 × 1,651; 1.85 MB Across the world, people began to identify particular plants that would provide them with food. Cylinder Vase with dancing maize god, 675-725 AD, Maya culture, eastern Peten lowlands, Guatemala or Belize, earthenware with slip - Gardiner Museum, Toronto - DSC01183.JPG 2,580 × 4,112; 3.35 MB © Trustees of the British Museum, Maize is still one of the most important food sources in Mexico and across the world. © Trustees of the British Museum. And this is pretty obvious in the young maize god - the sculpture was apparently a manifestation of mythological beings resulting from the third Maya creation. John Staller, anthropologist and author of the book 'Histories of Maize' explains why the maize god was a common choice for rich and powerful patrons: 'The elite from ancient societies focussed upon corn as having sacred kinds of properties which they then associated with themselves. Objects of ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all of which are in the British Museum's collections, as an introduction to parts of human history. google_color_border="FFFFFF"; But he comes at the end of a very long tradition; Central Americans had been worshipping him and his predecessors for thousands of years, and his mythic story mirrors the annual planting and harvesting of the corn on which all Central American civilisation depended. The maize god. //-->, After the Ice Age: Food and Sex (9000 - 3500 BC), Maya maize god (made around 1,300 years ago). But why did maize become the favoured food and the revered grain of the Americas? The model is (at maximum) 8.2 centimetres high, 24.2 cm long and 15.3 cm wide. From Indigenous clothing and Mexican skulls to necklaces made of dolphin teeth, this is one of the most extensive online museum databases in the world. A common medium of Maya sculpture that is almost entirely lost to observers today is that of wood. Aug 26, 2013 - This sculpture of the Maize God was comissioned by Waxaklajuun Ub'aah K'awiil (also known as '18-Rabbit'), the thirteenth ruler of Copán. He was found in Copán, a major Mayan city and religious centre, whose monumental ruins you can still visit today. His headdress is a stylised ear of corn and his hair is the silk of the corn. Stone statue, found in Honduras. But there's a particular time, after the end of the Ice Age, so between ten and five thousand years ago roughly, when a range of new foods seems to be accompanied by a range of new gods. The British Museum shop has a range of unique gifts, replicas, games and more. Joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, consisting of 100 objects used ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all of which are in the collections of the British Museum as the introduction of human history. Myths about the death and rebirth of gods helped explain the cycle of the seasons and the return of maize, on which Mayan civilisation depended. After the Ice Age: Food and Sex (9000 - 3500 BC), Culture 24 - Listings, Resources, Reviews. google_color_url="135355"; Maya relief of royal blood-letting. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. AD 175. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Well, the plant from which maize derives, the teosinte, is wonderfully adaptable. Maize was the Maya's most important food and was worshipped as a god. And his gestures, assuming they belong to the head, would undoubtedly have acted as prompts of some kind in any normal oral tradition of learning. English: Maya maize god statue. Here, in the heart of the British Museum, we have a god of maize. Without it, the two key nutrients in the vegetable - the amino acids and vitamin B - would not be released. The mythical story is told in the most famous epic in the whole of the Americas, the 'Popol Vuh'.