There is something about the jungle that just fills me with all sorts of unexplainable pleasant feelings. While I understand that the humid hell filled with insects that is a real-life jungle would evoke a different kind of emotion, that does not mean we can’t enjoy an insect-free jungle shrine from our armchairs, like this one built in LEGO by Jonas Kramm. This is more than just a pretty build though, Jonas has created this “Shrine of Nature” to explore the unusual use for minecraft animal head pieces as described in his article on the New Elementary blog.
The focus of the build is the central pattern built out of multiple Minecraft wolf heads in two staggered rows, with a lit up translucent green background, giving a mysterious tone to the creation. The exotic and unique plant and animal life in the scene are great too, using all sorts of exotic pieces in unique ways.
Mesoamerican temples lend themselves naturally to LEGO, with their blocky shapes and colours that are often abundant in collections, namely grays and greens. There seems to be an influx of Mayan and Aztec temples lately as you might have noticed on The Brothers Brick, and we have the Summer Joust competition to thank for this. One of the creations built for this contest is this one by Andreas Lenander
The first thing that catches our attention is the dark tan ground, a change from the expected greens that are used in similar creations. While I like the contrast that green gives, tan is probably more realistic. The sand and olive green overgrowth on the temple is an interesting colour choice, joined by dark green, which looks almost black in the photo. This darker colour gives a strong impression of wet moss, setting the scene in a particularly dank swamp. Some of the more unique parts usages include the Statue of Liberty headgear used as serpent’s head ornaments and the brown treads used as vines.
The Mesoamerican ballgame is an ancient sport played throughout Central America starting more than three thousand years ago. While some games may have been played purely for exercise or entertainment, there is strong archaeological and historical evidence for highly ritualized games that could even end in human sacrifice for some or all of the losers. W. Navarre has captured the action of a ballgame from the Aztec era, when ballcourts included rings through which players tried to bounce the rubber ball. The builder uses forced perspective to achieve a backdrop with a stepped pyramid temple — even the blazing blue sky is built with bricks.
The microscale pyramid includes decorative elements made from cut stickers — only official LEGO stickers, of course! The cheese slopes work wonderfully for the pyramid’s steps.
It seems strange that given how well-received LEGO creations of Mesoamerican architecture are, they are relatively rarely seen in the online LEGO building community, as if they were lost in a jungle. Hidden somewhere deep in the jungles of Flickr, an ancient temple built by Aaron Newman has been discovered, caught in the middle of a human sacrifice, which has angered Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent himself!
The temple serves as scenery for an engaging story hinted at by the builder in the photo’s description. The deity is beautifully sculpted and positioned, giving a convincing impression of graceful motion in the air. I love all the details across the temple, but the altar at the top is definetely the best part. A bit of greenery spilling around the temple and the excellent minifig action complete the scene, greatly aided by the very fitting and expressive background.
The Summer Joust contest is generating some amazing LEGO builds in a variety of categories. Talented multi-theme builder David Zambito‘s entry in the “Mesoamerican Setting” category depicts an Aztec-style temple overgrown with foliage. While the well-built temple is the center of the scene, the landscaping also deserves your attention. The plants are built not just from actual LEGO foliage pieces like bushes, bamboo, and flowers, but also from the plastic sprues that three-leaf plants come in, as well as street sweeper brushes.
If you like this Aztec-style pyramid, you might also like the Maya-style LEGO pyramid we featured previously.