"Mayans introduced picture writing"


The old Mayan empire flourished between the 2nd and the 8th century A.D. Around the end of the 10th century a new empire was established which survived until the invasion of the Spaniards in the early part of the 16th century. The Mayans had a written language, and have left numerous examples of manuscripts and picture writing. In religion they had much in common with the Aztecs; they were polytheistic and worshipped a sky god, who they believed was the creator. They made many ornaments of gold, greenstone, jade and copper, but they were especially skilful in architecture and in carving stone. They erected buildings of vast size, decorated in a wonderful manner and their massive character and lavish wealth of carvings attest a civilisation far superior to that of many other civilisations of the old world.

They used a form of picture writing, and an arithmetical system of counting in twenties made possible considerable progress in mathematical and astronomical science. Numerous examples of Mayan pottery have also been found; also spear-heads, incense burners, jadeite ear ornaments and greenish stone axes.

The women wear the traditional smock, called upil, with embroidered flowers round the hem and shoulders. They love pageantry, which is evident in the friezes in the churches and in the wealth of decoration adopted from Spain.

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