Ancient Maya Art-The Northern Area

Northern area

Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun (state of Yucatán, Mexico). The temple got its name because of seven small effigies that were found at the site when the temple was discovered.

As for the northern Maya area, its cultural development took place in parallel and more or less simultaneously with that of the central area, although the original cultural stimulus came from it. Almost sharing the same cultural level, technical and scientific knowledge, and beliefs of the sister towns of the central area, the Maya of Yucatán developed different architectural styles as expected in a environment geographically different from the jungle of the central zone. In the north of the Peninsula rainfall is quite low, rivers and other surface waters are not as abundant, the mainly limestone soil with a low vegetation layer supports an even lower and sparse vegetation as it approaches the northern end of the Peninsula… In spite of this unfavorable environment, the Mayas and Yucatecos developed a very brilliant variant of the Mayan civilization as shown by the vestiges of their ceremonial centers, some as old as those of Petén (Dzibilchaltun, Cobá, Edzná). In the course of the tenth century AD, Toltec groups from central Mexico invaded the north of the peninsula and imposed their rule, mainly in Chichén-Itzá and to a lesser extent in Uxmal and other centers. The consequent fusion of constructive techniques, the imposition of new deities, the predominance of a foreign warrior caste, and the appearance of new artistic themes and styles characterized the first half of the post-Classic period (1000-1250 AD). The last centuries prior to the Spanish Conquest clearly showed the decline of this hybrid Mayan-Toltec culture, as well as the return of certain classical Mayan patterns, particularly in pottery and decoration of buildings, a phenomenon that is mainly appreciated in Mayapán and on the Caribbean coast.

The Nohoch Mul Pyramid at the archaeological site of Coba (Yucatán Peninsula, state of Quintana Roo, Mexico).
View of the grand Acropolis at Edzná (north of the state of Campeche, Mexico). Edzná was inhabited by 400 BC and was later abandoned by 1500 AD.
Temple of the Warriors in Chichén-Itzá (Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico), built on top of a stepped pyramid and fronted and flanked by the gallery of a thousand columns depicting warriors, this gallery was initially covered with vaults.
The Governor’s Palace in Uxmal, from the late 8th or early 9th century AD (south of Merida, Yucatán state, Mexico). It comprises a main building and two lateral annexes. The photograph shows what was one of the corridors that separated the structures and which later became a sanctuary preceded by a portico. Notice the rich decoration of the frieze, in contrast to the smooth plane surface of the lower part of the facade.
The Mayan ruins of Mayapán, with the Temple of Kukulcán at the right (south of Telchaquillo, state of Yucatán, Mexico).