In around 1500 BCE, small agrarian communities began forming in Central America. These communities would make up what is now known as the Mayan civilization. In modern society, we refer to the Maya people, although this is not a name they gave themselves.It is also worth noting that they did not see themselves as a united group, but rather as many small ones.
The Maya, as well as other pre-Colombian civilizations such as the Aztecs, are thought to be the successors of the Olmec people. They occupied a large part of Mesoamerica, spanning from southern Mexico down to Nicaragua.
The Maya produced art for several reasons. Ancient Mayan art was rooted in their religious beliefs. Murals depicting their multiple gods and mythology were used to decorate the insides and outsides of temples.
The Maya also believed that eagles were divine beings as they could enter the heavens. They were primarily associated with the sun god Kinich Ahau who was responsible for producing heat and light for the earth.
Stone sculptures frequently depicted either kings of the past and present or important deities. The stones most commonly used were limestone and sandstone as they were relatively soft and easy to sculpt.