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Shield Jaguar and Lady Xok, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Lintel 24 or “Shield Jaguar and Lady Xok”, named as such because of the mythical figures the work portrays, is a piece of decorative architecture dated to 725 Christian Era (10.5 x 80.5 cm). The piece is a product of the Mayan culture, which occupied a hegemonic role in the Americas of this time period. The work is arguably most significant in that it reveals both the aesthetic commitments of the Mayan culture in terms of how they constructed their art as well as the themes they thought to be worthy of artistic depiction.

In so far as the piece is one of decorative architecture, its construction emphasizes both its functional role as part of a building as well as the religious symbols which characterized Mayan art. Accordingly, the piece is made of limestone, arguably because of the key functional role this material played in Mayan engineering as well as architecture. However, at the same time, the piece clearly demonstrates that Mayan architecture was not merely limited to pragmatic concerns. What is most striking about the piece is its clearly detailed ornamental approach. The detail of the figures, in particular the ceremonial dress worn by the Jaguar God and Lady Xok, as well as the staff held by Jaguar God, demonstrates a remarkable attention to detail. The piece does not only portrays therefore an even that is significant in Mayan metaphysics and religion, but also shows the aesthetic value the Mayans placed on ornamentation and detail.

For the Mayans, therefore, what such a piece of art demonstrates is that architecture must also take on a sophisticated aesthetic dimension. Architecture is not merely about dwelling places, but has a deeper communicative and symbolic meaning. This emphasis on deeper meaning is arguably reflected in the detail of the piece itself, which shows a remarkable care to certain elements of this cosmological story which the Mayans conferred value.

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