The Maya Murals of Bonampak was an extraordinary piece of art found in the Late Maya Court. Historians believe that the painting was created in the later years of the 8th century, in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico. Mary Miller, a lecturer at Yale, has written the literature, “The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak,” in 2013. As the climate in Central America is highly humid, the artistry of the Maya mural is typically ill-preserved.
However, the last ruling family of Bonampak developed walls of painted imageries showing life in 800 CE. Since its publication, more discoveries from the Bonampak regions continue to emerge. Since 1946, both the Americans and the Mexicans coveted the original paintings for academic purposes, as the wall paintings of Bonampak revealed intriguing imageries of life during the Ancient Maya period. Thus, the mural paintings were reconstructed into life-size scales replications that are held in several museums.
According to Miller, the original mural stretches across three rooms in an ancient temple. The imagery depicts life in court, wars, ceremonies, and the mundane day-to-day life of the Ancient Maya court. The murals are a tremendous source of information; unlike stone carvings and encrypted murals, the Maya murals are a draw with lintel colors. Hence, the long stretch of murals acts as a storybook that is depicted in vivid colors. Historians have a clear image of war colors and ceremonial attires, as well as significant objects and interesting gestures of the Ancient Maya court. The mural paintings within the palace temples also show motifs of deities that are presented with hieroglyphic caption. In conclusion, Miller emphasizes that the murals offer a significant window into the ancient world of Prehispanic society, in a way that no other single artifact can cohesively represent. The vivid art showcases an unparalleled view of the ancient society.
- University, Yale. “The Splendid Maya Murals of Bonampak, Mexico, with Prof. Mary Miller.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 Oct. 2013