Water and the Maya
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Saturday April 7, 2018

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Image from Izapa Stela 1, Izapa, Mexico, note water depiction

Waterlily Serpent mask, Caracol, Belize

A. 'ha', water
B 'nab' lake, pool, sea, waterlily

Tikal Burial 116, Tikal, Guatemala, water represented as dots

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Water and the Maya

Top photo, Mural from Temple of the Warriors, Chichen Itza, Mexico

Water is essential for all life on the planet. We get water from our taps, bottled from the stores, from wells, rivers, lakes, and the rain. We need it for hydration, for crops, and also as a food source, with the fishes and turtles that inhabit it. Whether we call it water, H2O, agua or sky juice, we cannot live without it.

The ancient Maya called water ‘ha’, and was one of the words that remain unchanged in the Maya tongue since the dawn of the civilization. Their depiction of water could be realistic or abstract, just like the creatures that dwelled within, even the fantastical the water-lily serpent. Water that dripped from cave formations was considered holy. We can do our part to keep our waterways clean, ensuring our future and survival as a people.

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