Read unlimited* books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. Like the maize plant, the maize god is decapitated at harvest time, and is then reborn - fresh, young, and beautiful at the beginning of each new growing season. He was found in a pyramid-style temple in Copan in modern-day Honduras surrounded by many other maize gods. In our next programme, we'll be turning from the food of the gods to the vessels that it's cooked in. The head of the god is covered with an enormous headdress in the shape of a stylised corn cob, and his hair is like the silky strands that line the inside of a cob of corn, inside the wrapping leaves. Where the Hebrew god made Adam out of dust, the Mayan gods used maize to make their humans. google_ad_width=120; But beans and squashes don't become gods - why does maize? In the Middle East - as we saw in the last programme - it was wheat and barley; in China millet and rice; in Papua New Guinea taro; and in Africa sorghum. Photo by BabelStone. Just as Necessity has been called the mother of invention I have heard it said that had there been no gods it would have been necessary to invent them. Neil focuses on the world of the Mayan civilisation and a stone Maize God, discovered … 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. By the seventeenth century around 60% of the diet of southern Europe consisted of untreated corn. The disease was later named pellagra. Explore the British Museum collection and journey through two million years of human history. It was not until 1930 that it was discovered that pellagra was due to a deficiency in niacin (a mineral that transforms fat and proteins into readily usable body energy). Explore the British Museum collection and journey through two million years of human history. The disease occurred because the Europeans were not able to digest the cornâs nutrients. Ming banknote from China. Egypt Read more. The Maya believed that their ancestors essentially came from corn, and they were formed of yellow and white maize dough. 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 For them, lime was synonymous with death, as they used lime to disintegrate organic matter. (Restaurateur Santiago Calva). Joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, consisting of 100 objects used ancient art, industry, ... Maya maize god statue. 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 … Material: Stone The statue is of the Mayan maize god. The head is disproportionately large compared to the narrow shoulders and slender torso. Such a man or school whose discovery gave the world a food for ever would have been worthy of remembrance and after the fashion of the ancient world deified. It's able to grow in both the lush wet lowlands and the dry mountainous regions, which means that farmers can plant crops in any of their seasonal dwellings. 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. 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. At some stage there will always be maize around, and it jumps any class barrier or identity. Read Maya Maize God Statue by with a free trial. Here, in the heart of the British Museum, we have a god of maize. Desire, love and … After that they put into words the making, the modelling of our first mother-father, with yellow corn, white corn alone for the flesh, food alone for the human legs and arms for our first fathers, the four human works.'. 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. The god of maize expected his disciples to work hard for their supper. From Indigenous clothing and Mexican skulls to necklaces made of dolphin teeth, this is one of the most extensive online museum … google_color_text="565555"; Early farmers in Mexico grew chilli to make their maize taste better The statue is of the Mayan maize god. Across the world, people began to identify particular plants that would provide them with food. His headdress is a stylised ear of corn and his hair is the silk of the corn. In this part of the world at this time around nine thousand years ago, other food resources were very thin on the ground. 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.'. google_color_border="FFFFFF"; Egypt Read more. Explore the collection See all. 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. 1901,1012.6. 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. Welcome to the History 2701 Wiki, created by the students in Prof. Ari Daniel Levine's World Civilizations I survey at the University of Georgia's Department of History. So even today for some people it's unthinkable that maize, the divine food, should end up in a petrol tank. Shell earflare frontals (1995.489a, b) depict the severed head of the Maya Maize God, the personification of a newly harvested ear of corn. It is part of the cultural identity.' Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. 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. Honduras. Nine thousand years ago, the maize cob was very hard, and eating it raw would have made you very ill. Today maize still forms a large part of the Central American diet in the form of tortillas. 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. Easily seduced by encyclopedic attempts to organize vast amounts of data, I fell in love with the BBC/British Museum podcast series “A History of the World in 100 Objects.” So I scoured the Museum and am posting one object a day: my terrible iPhone photos and vague memories of what MacGregor & Co. had to say. In … The sculpture was probably carved from two different blocks of limestone, one for the head and another for the torso. This figure has not got his eyes closed as you say Ian. The statue was commissioned by the 13th ruler of Copán , Waxaklajuun Ub'aah K'awiil, also known as … This elaborate process of boiling the raw kernel in lime and water was essential. Desire, love and … Here, in the heart of the British Museum, we have a god of maize. 10% off for Members Become a Member and enjoy a 10% discount at all of the Museum's shops. The Spanish conquistadores did not understand the need for lime. It was built in AD 715 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of his accession to the throne. The British Museum shop has a range of unique gifts, replicas, games and more. 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. The British Museum shop has a range of unique gifts, replicas, games and more. And no doubt the idea sprang from the recognition of genius and for its protection. At this point, the Popol Vuh goes back in time to explain who the twins’ ancestors were. View and buy royalty free and rights managed stock photos at The British Museum Images. 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. Read more. The arms are bent, the palms of the hands face outwards – one raised, one lower – giving an impression of serene power. 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. And this was when they found the staple foods, and then the yellow corn and white corn were ground. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. 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. After the Ice Age: Food and Sex (9000 - 3500 BC), Culture 24 - Listings, Resources, Reviews. The Maya maize god. 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 Maya maize god statue Statue of a Maya maize god. But the culinary secrets of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures have been preserved for centuries. All of the temple's statues were commissioned by the Mayan ruler of the day, to adorn the magnificent temple that he built at Copán around AD 700. A History of the World in 100 Objects is a joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum. google_ad_host="pub-6693688277674466"; //-->, After the Ice Age: Food and Sex (9000 - 3500 BC), Maya maize god (made around 1,300 years ago). google_ad_type="text_image"; Between the head and the body you can very clearly see the join, and indeed the head looks rather too big for the body, because when the temple in Copán (in western Honduras, from which this came) was destroyed, all the statues fell, and heads and bodies were pieced together, but whether this head and this body precisely belong together is actually not the key thing - because all these gods are about the central power, the central role, of maize to the local people. But it is, let's face it, pretty stodgy, and so from very early on, farmers also cultivated an ingenious - and tasty - accompaniment; the indigenous chilli. Collection online showcases more than four million of the Museum's objects. Maize was the Maya's most important food and was worshipped as a god.