GUATEMALA CITY – Spanish researchers from Valencia University presented in Guatemala a book analyzing the meaning of drawings and incisions on a Mayan architectural decoration in the form of a mask dating back to between 300 and 600 A.D.
The publication “Los Grafitos Mayas” (Mayan Pictographs) has been prepared by the team of Spanish and Guatemalan researchers who last January announced the discovery of a stucco mask at the La Blanca archaeological project in the province of Peten in northern Guatemala.
The book, according to Spanish academic Gaspar Muñoz Cosme, who has directed the project for the last six years, “seeks to spark interest and vindicate the importance of pictographs, which are normally seen as a minor art” within the Mayan culture.
The decorations on the mask, Muñoz said, “are of great quality, and show that whoever sculpted them were true artists,” since they were able to immortalize the cultural characteristics of that ancestral civilization.
The type of wall paintings known as pictographs or pictograms are typically found inside Mayan constructions.
This book, according to Muñoz, is considered the “most extensive and complete” scientific publication to date on Mayan pictographs, since it compiles a number of studies carried out at different archaeological sites in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize.
The Spanish archaeologists found the Mayan mask last year “by chance” in the ruins of Chilonche, at some 600 kilometers (373 miles) north of the Guatemalan capital.