Long even before all people of the world knows about the Mayan calendar of doomsday, which everybody already know was not true, a lot of people are already fascinated very much by the cultures and tradition of the Mayans. Well, that is not surprising because, the fact of the matter is, the Mayans is one group of a race that has been considered as the cradle of civilization and it can be evidently seen on everything that the Mayans have like their arts and crafts.
Even today, people from many different places are searching for hard-to-find Mayan arts and crafts. Whey, there are even other people who will pay a lot of money just to get their hands on these artifacts. But, frankly speaking, these hard-to-find items are really, well, hard to find.
One of these unique and rare items is a Mayan sacrificial knife. The ceremonial knife, with a jade handle and obsidian blade, was used by Mayans, especially their religious leaders for sacrifices. Sacrifice was a part of Mayan religious practice and most of those that they offered to their gods are their enemies and slaves.
If anybody have seen the movie by Mel Gibson, “Apocalypto”, that is how these Mayans have carried out their sacrifices. The worse thing is, when they are in the middle of a famine, they will be sacrificing more human lives which usually went on throughout the day because they believe that if doing so, the Mayan gods will spare them from the famine and will bring about rain to make their harvest bountiful. But, of course, this kind of tradition was cut off when Spaniards came.
The real sacrificial knives that were used by Mayans are made out of stones. The knives that were found by archaeologists during their diggings have traces of muscle, tendons, skin and even hair on these sharp obsidian knives which were dated back at around 2,000 years ago. These knives found proved that, indeed, sacrifices really took place when the Mayans were still at the top of the civilization.
The findings were authenticated through forensic samples and sacrifices were believed to be carried out 1000 years before the Aztecs. For many years, it was debated whether this kind of act is just an urban legend. Researchers in Mexico have proven that this urban legend is no legend at all. Another evidence which is considered indirect types of evidences were the human skeletons found in the areas where Mayans used to lived have cuts marks on their bones.
Because these artifacts or ancient Mayan items were considered as an important part in knowing the cultures and traditions of ancient Mayans, both local and foreign tourists are looking far and wide for the authentic obsidian knives. Most of them have found on areas where these sacrifices took place or at nearby cities where they are being sold. But, there are others who are satisfied with replicas of ancient Mayan sacrificial obsidian knives.
The Mayan artwork is very distinctive when it comes to style and the medium they were using during the time their civilization were in power. It was during the later Pre-classic period, which is 500 B.C. to 200 A.D., that these art works of the Mayas have started to take shape as it evolve. However, Mayan art work later bloomed into something that can be considered as epic during the seven centuries of the Classic period which was from 200 to 900 A.D. Unfortunately, with the discovery of this ancient New World, most of the art work of the Mayans such as their paintings, sculpture and wood carvings were destroyed by the Spaniards because they were considered as items of idolatry. However, a few Mayan art works have survived the “art work holocaust” and even survived the test of time paving the way for the interest of our modern civilization for the ancient Mayan artworks. (more…)