Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's the End of the World as We Know It

What else could be better for a 2012 ornament than a Mayan with his calendar?

I have been making my godson an ornament every year since the mid-1990's.  I had originally intended to stop making him ornaments when he turned 21.  However, he liked them so much, and I enjoyed making them so much, I continued for a few more years.  The end of an era has finally come.  It made this last ornament for him so fitting.

I have been interested in the Mayan civilization (and the Aztecs and the Incas) since I was a kid.  I've been toying with the idea of a Mayan or Aztec ornament for a few years.  Then I was truly inspired with the whole end-of-the-world calendar thing, and decided to make a Mayan and work a calendar into the ornament.

Have you ever seen Mayan lords or warriors in their artwork?  They depict some very elaborate headdresses; there were too many to choose from.  So I decided to forgo an intricate (and fragile) headdress for my little Mayan.  I thought the simple top knot would be interesting to do and feature the Mayan's iconic sloped forehead.  Well, the hair and forehead turned out to be much more of a challenge than I expected.  I mangled my first attempt so badly that I had to decapitate the little dude and ditch the head.  Then I figured out I needed to put the hair on his head before attaching it to the body.  I generally work my ornaments from the legs up, and the hair is one of the last things I complete.  But not in this case.  It was a bit disturbing to have a fairly complete head detached next to his body.

Mayan Haab' calendar
Searching for a calendar that my Mayan could hold was its own challenge (the long-count calendar, which was the basis for the end-of-the-world predictions, isn't a cyclical/annual calendar).  I was amused and somewhat disappointed:  if you google Mayan calendar,  the overwhelming majority of images display an Aztec calendar.  Aztec and Mayan calendars do not look the same, other than both annual calendars can be disc-shaped.  I debated about adding the Aztec calendar to my Mayan dude, since its angularity is so recognizable, but I just couldn't bring myself to mash the cultures.  Of the various Mayan calendars I found, I liked the Haab' solar calendar best, and attempted to add its basic features to my stone calendar.  I would have liked to add this kind of detail to my ornament - I think layout of this calendar is elegant.

There you go - Mayan dude with his Haab' calendar.  I'm glad we're all still around so I could show it off.

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