© Justin Kerr

Life and death are united in this Mayan mask, half flesh and half skull. The stone mask was probably donned during Mayan rituals in the Yucatan in the early to late Classic period (fourth to seventh centuries A.D.).

The dichotomy between life and death is a recurrent theme in Mesoamerican religion. It has been suggested that Mesoamerican dualism originates from Old Testament preoccupation with opposites such as life and death, good and evil, or strength and weakness.