chapter  Chapter Thirty-One
21 Pages

Maya mural painting

WithHeather Hurst

At an early date, the Maya established mural painting as a primary medium for combining figures and text – wall paintings were instruments for mythologies, narrative histories, and government programs of public art. Unnamed muralists painted palaces, elite residences, and civic-religious spaces with art that represented the state, its history and ideology, in rich polychrome. This chapter presents a sample of murals from across the Maya area that span over 1500 years from the Late Formative to the Late Postclassic periods. The invention of mural painting as a material technology was integrated early on into statecraft as communities, rulers, and those in positions of power built the civic-ceremonial areas of their cities and villages. This chapter illustrates how mural art is not the study of images but is a platform that must include the study of context and materials as well.