A Lasting Legacy

The Continuity of Maize


Long after the arrival of the Spanish in Mesoamerica, maize continues to be the staple crop for many people. It remains central not only to the diet, but to cultural practices and local economies as well.

Maize at the Thursday Market, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

Grinding Table with Metates, Finca Encanto, Chiapas, Mexico

These photographs may have been taken nearly a century ago, but the importance of maize endures. While fewer people grind their corn into flour by hand or worship the ancient Maize God, the plant continues to be a star in both the culture and the cuisines of Mexico and Central America.

Children Rinsing Maize, Sivaca, Chiapas, Mexico

(left) Preparing Food for the Fiesta, Women Grinding Corn, Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico
(right) Spring Carnival, Woman Making Tortilla, Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico

The photos above show maize being sold at market, modern maize processing and tools that bear striking similarity those used by ancient people, and how culinary traditions are an important part of social gatherings. These images beautifully capture the enduring relationship contemporary Mesoamerican people have with maize.