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Mayan Numbers

Mayan Numbers

As we have mentioned before, everything behind M&J has a story. Not just an ordinary story, and the one we’ll give you a glimpse into today is a very ancient story. No one knows for sure how ancient, but Mayan culture is believed to have been around since 1800 B.C., rising to their golden age around 250 A.D. You may wonder what M&J has to do with the Mayan civilization. M&J’s roots are in Guatemala, which was the cradle of Mayan civilization. This inspired us to pay tribute to the Mayan culture and heritage in our Shape Shifters collections. 

An amusing part of the Mayan civilization is how advanced they were in science, math, and astronomy. Their numeric system was where the first explicit zero symbol is found, represented by a shell figure. If your lucky number is five, then you’ll enjoy knowing that this system was based on the number five. In the first level, every line symbolizes five, and every dot symbolizes a unit. A dot is not used more than four times.  A line does not appear more than three times. If you do your math right, this only gets us up to nineteen. However, the Mayans were apparently much better at math than us. 

They used a fascinating multiplication system as well as rows to express long numbers. The first or bottom row would only go up to nineteen, however on the second row (or level) up a dot symbolizes 20 and every line symbolizes 100. 

Level three is where some irregularities start to show up since they based their numbers off of the calendar. This is because agriculture was a main part of their economy, and the study of the sun and moon calendars was a main focus of their studies. 

At M&J, we care deeply about the stories behind our products, and are proud to have included this amazing part of an intelligent, ancient society in our Shape Shifters collections. You can check out the entire collection here

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