this is my first entry in a competition like this. I've had this idea brewing for a while and this seemed like an appropriate time to flesh it out.
I decided to go with a very primitive culture. The render is taken from the inside of one of their houses. The structure is simple wood posts and beams with smooth plaster walls. I imagine this civilization was very "earthy" and not very technologically advanced - but they were clever and very clean. They indulged in more spiritual pursuits than intellectual ones.
I used Maya's Mental Ray renderer to get the nice glow from the outside and the soft shadows.
Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks!