By Pepin Van Roojen
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It is missing its carved wood head, and the local people have set a rough stone head in its place. The fortress church at Yaxcabá. economic organization imposed on them over the previous three hundred years. This rebellion stemmed from the late eighteenth-century Bourbon political and legal reforms in the Spanish empire that favored the expansion of haciendas, the large agricultural estates held by the landed gentry. 8 The reforms slowly constrained and burdened the native Maya even above their usual oppression.
This village at the edge of the wild coastal swamp zone was an archetypical henequen hacienda and production factory. Living with the archaeologists in the casa principal of the 42 / Chapter Two hacienda—our “field camp”—gave me an immersion into that historical period and also some sense of the hacienda’s relationship to the Maya village culture that became enslaved to its workings. ” They all followed a similar layout. The owner’s mansion or casa principal; the steam-powered and belt-driven machinery rooms to crush the large agave leaves; the buildings for spinning, packing, and storing the rope product—all these were arrayed around a large central plaza.
4 I would also visit Dzibilchaltun, a short distance north of the city, to gaze on the old ramada church amid the ruins of the ancient city. Musing upon that church I could see clearly its firm intention. Standing square in the main performance space of the ancient city, it wished to dispel, erase, and displace the old ways and throw out the ancient deities. It would The Maya in Yucatán / 29 San Idelfonso—night on the Mérida zocalo. do this by pronouncing its vitality among the ruined buildings of the ancient order.
Ancient Mexican Designs by Pepin Van Roojen