Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/117

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It is to be hoped that, when Dr. Le Plongeon shall have completed his explorations, he will give to the world a connected account of his discoveries, embellished with his photographs and enlivened with the sparkling descriptions of his talented and devoted wife. At present, we are indebted to the American Antiquarian Society[1] for several valuable illustrated papers on these investigations, and especially to the scholarly editor, Mr. Stephen Salisbury, Jr., through whose liberality and unwearied exertions they were published.

The predominant character of these Maya structures, says the historian of Yucatan, Señor Ancona, is that all are built upon an artificial elevation; TLM D117 Chaacmol.jpgCHAACMOL. a pyramid or truncate cone supporting a building more or less vast and grand. The walls are generally of great thickness, many are faced on the exterior with carved stone, and many also present a rich profusion of adornments, sculptured in bas-relief upon their faces.

Busts and human heads, figures of animals, and hieroglyphics—which nobody has yet been able to decipher—constitute in general these adornments. The finest workmanship is displayed in broad and elevated cornices; and the spectator does not know which most to admire in the artist,—the prodigious number of small pieces with which he composed the work, or the beauty and accuracy to nature of the scenes represented. The doors are generally low and the lintels of wood, some richly sculptured.

  1. For detailed descriptions see "The Mayas, the Sources of their History," 1877; "Maya Archaeology," 1879; Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.