An engraving by Fernando Castro Pacheco illustrates the importance of corn to Mayans in a book by Alfredo Barrera Vasquez, Poema en Cinco Puntos Cardinales, published in Merida in 1976.
According to ancient beliefs rooted in the Yucatan, Mayan gods created a world full of plants and animals yet still felt unfulfilled. Their egos required more. They yearned for creatures capable of worshipping them, offering them tributes they craved. Like chocolate.
After attempts with other materials, the gods settled on corn, corn mixed with water and perhaps a bit of their own blood. So the first four men were formed from ground kernels of white corn and the women from yellow. Man not only was created from corn; he became dependent on corn as the cornerstone of his diet. Fortunately, there was a deity for that – Hun Nal Yeh, the god of corn.
So it is only natural that the critical role of corn in the world of the ancient Mayan and Mexico today is heralded in El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya of Merida. Continue reading “Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Mayan gods molded man from masa”