focus: Students will create headdresses and costumes based on mythological
images found in Mesoamerican ballgame artifacts.
symbols in Maya art and ritual.
the story of the Popol Vuh.
the cosmic diagram of the four directions.
glyphs of characters in creation story.
to abstract from organic forms.
a bilateral design based on observation of animal and plant forms.
a three-color helmet mask headdress.
with ritual costume. From the Campeche region of Mexico. A.D. 700-900.
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA.
connections (Grades 6-12):
about Mesomaerican ritual costumes and headdresses (print from web site.)
of Popol Vuh (print from web site.)
cosmic diagram (print from web site.)
cover text weight paper or Bristol board (in contrasting colors - two
of one color and one of another.)
TERMS: abstraction, asymmetry, bilateral, symmetry, organic form,
Ballcourt, Ballcourt marker, ritual, Popol Vuh, Maya, maize, backrack,
Chac, Hun Hunahpu, Paddler Gods, Hunahpu, Xbalanque, Xibalba, Xocipilli,
CHART TERMS: symbol, shaman, effigy, nahaul, headdress, cosmic diagram,
ceiba tree, maguey, mat, waterlily jaguar, howler monkey, Venus
and 5th grades: Five 45 minute sessions
and High School: Three 90-minute sessions.
(a) characters in Popol
Vuh, the Maya creation story, (b) diagram
of the four directions, glyphs
and animal symbolism. (All are available from web site.)
abstraction and bilateral symmetry.
students design a bilateral abstract mask image. Work from animal mask
templates provided on the web site. See
Lesson Plan 1: Make a paper Facemask.
and headdresses in Maya ceremonial costumes. Give students computer
time to review site to gain background in Mesoamerican cultures.
students select animal or zoomorphic forms related to one of the five
directions in the Cosmic
Diagram. Think about color, shape, and contrast of size and position
a design by working from plant and animal three-dimensional objects.
Simplify shapes. Look for internal shapes within the form. Jowls, snouts,
foreheads, mouths etc. Draw the idea on newsprint to scale.
- To begin
construction, cut two strips of heavy paper 2 inches wide by 24 inches
long. Shape these to fit the head by wrapping first piece around the
forehead to the back of the head. Staple. Take the 2nd strip and make
a cross strip to sit on top of the head. Staple. This should fit snugly
like a cap or crown so that the tubular construction does not slide
down over the face or the ears.
another piece of paper, construct a tube the same circumference of the
crown. Place the crown on the inside of the tube and staple it in place.
This creates the "drum major" armature for the headdress construction.
from the zoomorphic design drawings cut out the basic shape using three
sheets of folded paper (two of the same color and one contrast). Cut
from the outside and leave the fold intact. The two sheets of the same
color will serve as front and back base for the construction.
- On the
contrast color draw internal shapes of your animal image.
two other colors inside this sheet and cut these into smaller shapes.
Think about expressiveness and about contrast of size and position in
making the shapes interesting to the viewer. Possible areas to exaggerate
are snouts, jowls, foreheads, ears.
- As you
construct the form, you can create more dimension by pushing the outside
edges of shapes toward the center fold before you attach them. You can
also roll, bend, crease, or turn edges. Examine
the silhouette as the headdress takes form. How does the construction
look from the side? Modify as you work three dimensionally.
- Cut feather-shaped
forms from folded paper. Attach feathers to fan out around the headdress
like a peacock tail, or group feathers framing the head on the sides
and in the center.
in creation story
of the four directions