By Rachel Foster
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Dr. Bryan Just gave a compelling presentation of Gods and Demons in Maya Art on April 10 in Civic Hall at Camden County College.
Just started the presentation by giving a brief introduction to ancient Maya. He wondered if there were really gods and demons? He stated these two categories are “western and inappropriate” ways of referring to them.
During the introduction, Just told the audience about three terms the Maya used. The first term was K’uh, which roughly means God. The second term was ik’, which refers to the soul. The third term was wahy, which is demons.
Just broke these terms and ideas down into words that even someone who knew nothing about ancient Maya could understand. He started with the basics and built upward, which helped present the information to a varied audience.
Just’s visual presentation was composed of an extensive slide show that contained images of many pieces of art that can be found at the Princeton museum. Each piece of art was different and Just told a fascinating story behind each one.
As the presentation continued, audience members hung onto Just’s every word.
Alexandra Massa, a student at Camden County College, found the most interesting part of Just’s presentation to be when he spoke of the different sections of the world. “For the most part in Greek and Roman mythology, it’s Mount Olympus, where the gods are, Earth, where the people are, and then the underworld, which is mostly just kind of a fiery hell, so it was different to see a watery underworld instead,” Massa said.
After the hour-long presentation, Just invited the audience to ask questions, and the audience wasn’t lacking in questions. They ranged from what colors were represented in Maya art to inquiries about human sacrifice in relation to gods and demons.
“I had fun,” Just said after the event. “There were lots of good questions, which makes me think that people were interested.”