While touring the Governor’s House in Merida, Mexico I saw this painting showing the Mayan story about the creation of human beings. I discovered there are many versions of the story called the Popol Vuh but each recounts how the gods of the sea and sky first created mountains to separate their realms. Then they filled the world with animals and birds and fish and plants. They tried to make people from mud and then from wood but neither attempt worked out. Finally the world experienced a great flood and after it was over the gods managed to successfully fashion people from corn.
Although Mexico’s famed artist Diego Rivera is more well-known for his large murals I found this water-colour illustration of the Mayan creation he did in the Library of Congress collection. The gods of the sea and sky are shown as serpents. You can see the mountains and animals and fish and birds and plants the gods created each depicted in separate sections of the painting. Most, like the jaguar and palm and lobster are native to the area in which the Mayan people lived. I am wondering if the two figures lying down beside the man and woman are the unsuccessful wood and mud versions of human beings the gods tried first.
It is always interesting to learn new creation stories and compare them to the one in the Christian Bible which I grew up knowing.