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Girl, Green Tomb & Volcano, Solol▀, Solol▀, Guatemala
Provided by the artist - Jeffrey Becom
© Jeffrey Becom
"In the Highland Guatemala town cemetery of Solol▀, I discovered a grave that best illustrates the death beliefs of the Maya through the use of symbol and color. With its spectacular view of sacred Lake Atitl▀n ringed by a trio of volcanoes, this Maya tomb is painted a verdant green to conjure new life. It is accented with blue and green tiles and trimmed in blood red to speak of rebirth through sacrifice. Red scroll finials recall the ancient spiral symbol for smoke, that curling vapor rising from sacrificial fires to transmit messages to and from the gods, as does the jade green cross dominating the tomb's fa■ade.
Over the course of five years, my repeated attempts to photograph this glorious example of otherworldly communion had always failed due to weather. Finally one spring I optimistically set up to shoot this monument for the eighteenth time. The early morning overcast sky had stolen all color from the panorama, tarnishing the three towering cones with a lavender haze and reducing the lake to a flat, gunmetal gray. I waited patiently for the light to change. An hour later a young girl, wearing all five of the sacred colors of the Maya cosmos in her woven blouse, peeked around the corner of the emerald tomb. In that instant of epiphany the sun broke through, illuminating the slumbering crater of her Ancestor's home, now pillowed in white clouds."
[Courtesy of the artist - used with permission]