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Matías González Chavajay 
Palo Volador, San Pedro la Laguna / Ritual of Pole Flying, San Pedro la Laguna

Oil on canvas - 25" x 16"
2009

Pole flying is an ancient Mesoamerican ritual. Among the Maya it may be related to the creation of the world, associated with a bird god who lives in the World Tree at the center of the earth. Five young "birdmen" climb a pole cut from the tallest tree in the forest. Four of them tie themselves to the pole with ropes, and then leap from the top, spinning around it in the air some 13 times while descending to the ground. Meanwhile, the fifth man dances atop the pole and plays a flute, representing the singing of birds.