If these walls could talk, they’d solve a Maya mystery.
Five years ago Lucas Asicona Ramírez (far right, pictured with family) began scraping his walls while renovating his home in the Guatemalan village of Chajul. As the plaster fell away, a multi-wall Maya mural saw light for the first time in centuries, according to archaeologist Jarosław Źrałka, who recently revealed the finds to National Geographic News.
The paintings depict figures in procession, wearing a mix of traditional Maya and Spanish garb. Some may be holding human hearts, said Źrałka, who was working on the other side of Guatemala when a colleague tipped him off to the kitchen murals.
The recent exposure has faded the art considerably, leaving precious little time to unlock their secrets, he added.
Accompanied by a flutist (far left), a Spanish-garbed drummer plays for a figure in a Maya headdress in the Ramírez’s main living area, used as a kitchen and living-dining area.
Painted on the house’s oldest plaster layer, the images were created after the 16th-century Spanish conquest of Guatemala, said Źrałka, of Poland’s Jagiellonian University. The home is at least 300 years old, he added, and the style recalls 17th- to 18th-century illustrated texts from the region.
"From the waist up" these figures are "typical Maya," with long capes, Źrałka said. "But they also have Spanish clothes"—pants and European-style shoes, for example.
The figure on the left may be holding a human heart, aorta protruding, Źrałka said. More.