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“Majesty of the Ancient Maya” – Uncover hidden treasures of an extraordinary civilisatio
June 19-October 18, 2015 – World Museum in Liverpool Exhibit
World Museum in Liverpool will invite visitors to uncover the hidden treasures of the ancient Mayas this summer, with the opening of a breathtaking exhibition in the city; the only place to host it in the UK.
The free exhibition will take visitors on an illuminating journey to an age of majestic warriors, astronomy and learning, shamanic rituals and human sacrifice.
Through 385 stunning objects from museums and historical sites in Mexico, the exhibition explores this extraordinary people whose culture is still alive today.
Objects include an impressive stone ball court ring and a ceramic figurine of a ball player. The ancient Maya played the first ever documented team sport; a game with a ball, two opposing sides, an arena and spectators. Players wore padding on the hips, and many wore elaborate headdresses. The stone ball court ring, with intricate carvings of entwined feathered serpents, was found in Chichén Itzá, one of the largest Mesoamerican cities. Visitors to the exhibition can learn what the deadly consequences of the ball game were.
Visitors will also be able to see an object dating back more than 700 years, demonstrating the great significance of nature to the ancient Mayas. A striking small golden frog with turquoise eyes symbolises close links between amphibians, water-based gods and the underworld. To the ancient Mayas, the croak of frogs and toads was important as it announced the arrival of rain, leading to the renewal of the earth.
The Ambassador of Mexico, Diego Gomez-Pickering said:
Undoubtedly this exhibition will unveil mesmerizing details about the Mayan civilization, but also will showcase to every visitor the value of Mexico’s history and the great diversity of its cultural routes.
Throughout the exhibition’s run there is a programme of free events, including a celebration weekend in July, Mexican folk dance and traditional music, workshops for schools and public provided in partnership with Mexicolore, an independent team specialising in educational resources on Mexico, craft activities exploring Maya culture provided by the local Mexican community, a talk by TV presenter and historian, Dr Jago Cooper, and an academic symposium led by Professor Elizabeth Baquedano, renowned expert on the Pre-Hispanic world.
There will be an opportunity to purchase beautiful Mexican jewellery and crafts in the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition shop at World Museum.
Mayas: revelation of an endless time has been produced by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) in Mexico. It is part of the 2015 Dual Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom in Mexico.
The World Cultures Gallery within World Museum contains stunning objects from our Americas collection, ranging from South America to the Arctic, with a large display of Mesoamerican archaeology.
To celebrate the Year of Mexico in the UK, World Museum will also show its Codex Fejérvary-Mayer, an exceptionally rare deer skin book from the Mixtec of central Mexico, for the duration of the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition.
For more details on the exhibition, please visit:
“Maya; Hidden Worlds Revealed” Exhibit
June 12, 2015-January 3, 2016 – San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Natural History Museum will open a new special exhibition offering insight into the ancient Maya
This exhibition will be on view through January 3, 2016 and tells the story of this ancient civilization through the eyes of Maya rulers and their loyal subjects. At 10,000 square feet, it is the largest exhibition of its kind to be presented in the United States.
The ruined cities of the ancient Maya have captured our imaginations since news of their discovery in the jungles of Central America was published in the 1840s. Extensive research has uncovered a culture with a sophisticated worldview that, during its Classic period (250-900 AD), rivaled any civilization in Europe. Maya, an original exhibition, sheds light on this mysterious and majestic ancient culture.
“We are committed to bringing new content-rich traveling exhibitions to San Diego for locals and visitors to enjoy,” said Dr. Michael Hager, president and CEO of the Museum. “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed is the largest exhibition about the ancient Maya ever to be displayed in the United States. We are delighted to be able to offer this exhibition to our guests and hope they walk away feeling as if they’ve learned something new about this important and multifaceted culture.”
Visitors will experience jaw-dropping architecture and distinctive art through a series of exhibits and artifacts. The exhibition investigates questions surrounding the Maya and offers a glimpse into the daily life of the Maya people.
Exhibition highlights include more than 200 authentic artifacts; bilingual text panels in English and Spanish; dozens of interactive components; immersive recreated environments; life-size replicas of awe-inspiring temples; the iconic sculpted monuments known as stelae that were erected in the great plazas of Maya cities; and spectacular examples of Maya artistry, such as a recreated portion of a famous frieze from the El Castillo pyramid in Xunantunich (a Maya civic ceremonial center). Throughout Maya, interactive elements offer visitors the opportunity to decipher ancient symbols, explore tombs, and investigate the Maya approach to math and astronomy.
Gold of the Ancient Americas
May 9-October 11, 2015 – Walters Museum, Baltimore Exhibit
Gold of the Ancient Americas showcases more than 50 artifacts, including cast animal pendants, a hammered gold disc, beaded necklaces and nose ornaments made by the indigenous peoples of the ancient Americas from Peru to Panama. The exhibition explores the Walters’ collection of gold ornaments crafted in Central and South America between AD 500 and 1500, alongside gifts to the collection from several generous donors.
A mix of art and science, the exhibition tells the story of ancient societies through their use of gold as a symbol of power, wealth, and privilege, and highlights the making of gold objects by ancient American goldsmiths before the Spanish conquest.
Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St.
The Aztecs, People of the Sun Exhibit
May 30-October 25, 2015 – Museo Pointe-à-Callière de Historia y Arqueología de Montreal, Canada
The Aztecs, produced by Pointe-à-Callière in collaboration with the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts – National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), showcases some 265 items from 16 Mexican museums, including the Templo Mayor Museum, an archaeological site museum like Pointe-à-Callière itself, and the Mexican National Museum of Anthropology. The tremendously varied objects are both spectacular and moving. Masks and statues, gold jewellery, figurines of women, children and animals, stamps for creating patterns on fabric and skin, sculptures and objects relating to the sacrifices required to keep the Sun on its daily journey, chests, boxes for offerings, vases and ceramics, all reflect the mysteries surrounding this people.
The highlights of the Montréal exhibits include some of the most remarkable remains from the Aztec civilization. Two statues from the Templo Mayor Museum, each weighting 250 kg and standing 170 cm (nearly 6 feet) tall, are sure to appeal to visitors’ imaginations. The terra cotta statue of an eagle warrior, with jagged claws protruding from his knees front and back and his face emerging from an eagle’s beak, could also represent the rising Sun. This true work of art was found in the House of the Eagles, next to the Templo Mayor, used for rituals and penitential ceremonies. The terra cotta statue of Mictlantecuhtli shows the god of death leaning forward toward humans. With his skull-like face, pierced with holes for hair to be inserted, his shredded skin and clawed hands, stained with human blood, he is a terrifying sight!
Other items with splendid colours, like the vessel representing Tlaloc, the rain god, tell us more about the Aztecs’ lifestyle and deities. This vase is considered one of the masterpieces of Aztec art, and shows the god with his typical “goggles” and fangs, in his usual blue colour. The pyramid shapes on his headdress are references to the mountains where the Aztecs believed Tlaloc stored the water that would later fall as rain.
A wooden mask inlaid with turquoise, shell and mother-of-pearl is one of the rare Aztec “turquoise masks” to have survived. It may be a reference to the god Quetzalcoatl, whose face is emerging from the mouth of a serpent. This rare piece comes from the “Luigi Pigorini” National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography, in Rome.
A ceramic piece with three faces, adorned with 13 circular gems, or chalchihuitl, evoking the 13 months of the sacred calendar, is also stunning. It decorated a brazier or a funerary urn, and shows the three phases of existence: in the centre, youth opening its eyes to the world, followed by an image of old age, and then the face of inescapable death, with its eyes closed, all referring to passing time. This sublime piece expresses the cyclical principle of duality, so important in Aztec thought, where life is reborn from death.
There are also images drawn from historic codices, photos of archaeological sites and remains, and different videos. Then there are some 150 unique hand-built and painted figurines made in Mexico to create a colourful, joyous scene depicting the vast Tlatelolco market held north of Tenochtitlan in days gone by.
The exhibition focuses on the founding of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, their daily lives, the Templo Mayor, and of course the question of human sacrifices and the two Aztec calendars. It looks at many themes in their rich history: the Aztecs’ migration, guided by their god Huitzilopochtli, and the founding of Tenochtitlan; the remarkable urban planning and land use development in this “Venice of Mexico”; the Aztec art of war and the tribute paid by conquered peoples, as well as their agricultural techniques and the chinampas, the ingenious floating gardens that made the city self-sufficient. It also looks at the organization of Aztec society, with its different classes, a fascinating subject that addresses the role of women, education and the administration of justice. Aztec writing and the famous codices, manuscripts made up of glyphs or pictograms illustrating the spoken language, are examined in depth. Religion, an essential and omnipresent part of Aztec society, along with their various deities and rituals, are described. And lastly, the exhibition closes with a description of the Spanish conquest and the fall of the Aztec Empire, and the legacy of the Aztecs today.
Around the exhibition
There will be all kinds of activities surrounding the exhibition, starting with the tours given by the Museum’s professional guides every day in the exhibition rooms. The Osco! restaurant at the InterContinental Montréal hotel is also planning a week of Mexican-themed dishes in conjunction with the exhibition. At the Museum itself, the L’Arrivage restaurant will be offering dishes inspired by Mexican cuisine throughout the exhibition. Outdoor activities in a pedestrian space organized by the Museum from May 15 to August 23 will also celebrate the Aztecs, with a pop-up piano in Aztec colours installed and available to everyone in June and July. On Grand prix weekend, the Museum will be joining in the excitement gripping the whole city with outdoor events. What’s more, 10 pop-up culinary stations will be on hand on June 6 and 7, offering food and tastings of tequila, the Mexican national beverage. At different times throughout the summer, Place Royale will be hosting Mexican music and songs and demonstrations and food tastings honoring Mexico. Lastly, a lecture entitled Xocoatl ou le secret du dieu aztèque Quetzalcoatl will be given on October 22, 2015 as part of the Belle Soirées lecture series at the Université de Montréal. On September 16, Mexican Independence Day, members of the local Mexican community will enjoy special access to the Museum.
The Aztecs, People of the Sun is an exhibition produced by Pointe-à-Callière in collaboration with The National Council for Culture and Arts – National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico. Pointe-à-Callière thanks the following partners and sponsors: the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (Mexico), the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Department of International Relations and La Francophonie (Québec), the Department of Culture and Communications (Québec), the Québec Government Office in Mexico City, the Consulate General of Mexico in Montreal, Aeroméxico, the STM, the InterContinental Montréal Hotel, Tourisme Montréal, the Mexican Government Tourism Office in Montréal, and La Presse.
The Great Inca Road
June 26, 2015–June 1, 2018 – Museum of the American Indian Exhibit, Washington D
Construction of the Inka Road stands as one of the monumental engineering achievements in history. A network more than 20,000 miles long, crossing mountains and tropical lowlands, rivers and deserts, the Great Inka Road linked Cusco, the administrative capital and spiritual center of the Inka world, to the farthest reaches of its empire. The road continues to serve contemporary Andean communities across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile as a sacred space and symbol of cultural continuity. In 2014, the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, recognized the Inka Road as a World Heritage site.
The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire explores the foundations of the Inka Road in earlier Andean cultures, technologies that made building the road possible, the cosmology and political organization of the Inka world, and the legacy of the Inka Empire during the colonial period and in the present day.
The Inka Road project is organized by the National Museum of the American Indian and is made possible by federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, and internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Consortium for World Cultures. Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the National Council of the National Museum of the American Indian and the ESA Foundation.
Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes
May 15-November 15, 2015 – Dallas Museum of Art Exhibit
Inca: Conquests of the Andes explores the effects of the dynamic nature of state expansion and imperial conquest on Andean visual arts. The Inca Empire developed through the 15th and early 16th centuries, encompassing the central Andes of South America. Before and after the Inca Empire, political expansions by local states or foreign empires continually transformed the Andean coast and highlands. The visual arts of these periods reflect the dynamism of such cultural convergence.
The exhibition presents more than 120 works primarily drawn from the DMA’s collection, many of which are on view for the first time, along with significant loans. The Inca (Inka) and their imperial impact are framed by pre-Inca cultures, such as the Huari (Wari), and the successive early Spanish colonial period. The exhibition reflects the traditional media of Andean visual arts, from ceramic and wood to gold, silver, feather, and textile objects. They convey the richness and dynamism of over 1,000 years of Andean cultural history.
Chilton II Gallery
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood
“Spider Woman to Horned Serpent: Creation and Creativity in Native North American Art” Exhibit
March 7, 2015 – January 3, 2016 – Carlos Museum
“Spider Woman” is an important figure for many Native North Americans. Often associated with the creation of the universe, she not only gave the Hopi life, but also the creative power to weave, and the precious silver and turquoise to make their jewelry. Later, the Diné (Navajo) migrated to Spider Woman’s lands in the Southwest and learned of her gifts from the ancient Hopi and other Puebloan peoples. Today all of these groups in the Southwest are known for their imaginative creations in fiber, silver, turquoise, and ceramics. As part of Emory’s celebration and exploration of creation and creativity across cultures, the Carlos Museum is featuring not only indigenous art of the American Southwest, the gifts of Spider Woman, but also beadwork and leather of the Plains, Cherokee sculpture and basketry, and Southeastern Mississippian shell jewelry. The artworks to be displayed in the Art of the Americas gallery come from local collectors and the Museum’s own collection of objects found at or near Etowah in the 1920s, including a shell pendant with a horned, coiled rattlesnake in a circle with cross formation. This snake, one of the four “horned serpents” of the Mississippian cosmos, helps maintain balance at the four corners among the three levels of the world. This pendant is rarely displayed due to its sacred nature, but through collaboration with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma we are proud to exhibit it along with a recently carved war club by Muscogee artist Danny Beaver.
Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University
571 South Kilgo Circle
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“Fangs, Feathers, and Fins: Sacred Creatures in Ancient American Art” – Houston Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition
Oct 16, 2014 – Mar 22, 2015
People have always been fascinated by animals. In the ancient Americas, wildlife such as jaguars and killer whales became symbols of divinity and rulership. Artworks made in the images of these creatures played significant roles in religion and society.
The inventive ways in which animals were depicted in art provide a window into the beliefs and practices of long-gone cultures that never developed written language and left few traces other than their art. The Museum’s significant Pre-Columbian collection comprises remarkable examples, which come together thematically for the first time in the exhibition Fangs, Feathers, and Fins: Sacred Creatures in Ancient American Art.
More than 200 objects, spanning nearly 5,000 years, explore the significance that different animals held, demonstrating how the peoples of the ancient Americas viewed themselves and the world around them. Among the works on view are evocative ceramic vessels and stone monuments made by the Maya and Olmec of ancient Mexico, a feather tunic from the Nasca people of Peru, and intricate gold ornaments from the Tairona culture of Colombia.
Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Beck Building, Lower Level
5601 Main Street
“Beneath the Surface; Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama” – Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology Exhibit
February 7-November 1, 2015
Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama, a new exhibition opening February 7, 2015 at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, invites visitors to dig deeper, exploring the history, archaeological evidence, and new research perspectives, in search of a greater understanding of the Coclé people who lived from about 700 to 900 CE. Video footage from the original Sitio Conte excavation, video kiosks with opportunities to “meet” and hear from a range of experts, a centerpiece “burial” with interactive touchscreens—and more than 200 objects from the famous excavation—provide an immersive experience. The exhibition runs through November 1, 2015.
One massive burial, named “Burial 11” by the excavators, yielded the most extraordinary materials from the excavation. Believed to be that of a Paramount Chief, it contained 23 individuals in three distinct layers, accompanied by a vast array of grave objects. A to-scale installation of the burial serves as the exhibition’s centerpiece, drawing visitors beneath the surface of the site. The re-creation features many artifacts displayed in the actual positions they were found, as well as digital interactive stations for further exploration.
“Aztecs” – Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia Exhibit
September 13, 2014-February 2015
Experience the power, the glory and the guts of the Aztec empire in this major exhibition of artefacts from ancient Mexico
Move over, Mayans; eat dust, Incas. The Aztecs arrive in Sydney this month in an exhibition of more than 200 precious objects and artefacts that explores the daily life, rituals and belief systems of one of the great civilisations of history – and one that makes those Incas (in Peru) and Mayans (in southern Mexico) look like kittens by comparison.
Fierce in battle, the Aztecs also practised ritual sacrifice. At the same time, their complex agricultural, political and social systems, combined with achievements in early technology and architecture, saw them emerge as the dominant culture in central America in the 15th century – before being wiped out with the arrival of the Spanish in 1520. All this is taken in over six thematic sections of the exhibition, starting with the origins of the civilisation and ending with its collapse.
The artefacts were chosen by Raúl Barrera from the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico and Lynette Townsend at Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington, whose organisations conceived the show as a joint venture. “It wasn’t until the 1960s when Mexican archaeologists started excavating the sites that a lot of objects started to be recovered,” says Townsend, who was spoilt for choice when it came to the exhibition. Her mission was to capture the everyday experience of the people. As visitors walk under a large projection of the sun rising and falling, they’re asked to consider the mindset of the Aztec people and the world in which they lived: a place of active volcanoes, flood and drought. Aztec priests believed that they were entrusted to keep their deities satisfied and offered human lives as appeasement. “When people realise that the objects they’re looking at were used in human sacrifice – those are powerful pieces,” says Townsend.
Beyond the bloodshed, the curators were keen to explore the meaning behind these rituals. Glittering mystically from the heart of the exhibition is a formidable replica of the Great Temple, Huey Teocalli. “The temple was the physical and spiritual centre of the Aztec universe,” Townsend explains. “It’s quite a contemplative space.”
6 College St, Sydney
Telephone 02 9320 6000
Aztecs Night Talk Series : Conquest, Contrast and Culture
From Aztec funerary customs to ritual violence and bloodletting in Mesoamerica, join us for these fascinating talks from the experts in their fields.
And the associated lectures below;
1. Aztecs: all about the exhibition
Fran Dorey, Aztecs exhibition project manager
Date: Thursday 2 October
2. Aztec funerary customs
Dr Stan Serafin, Central Queensland University
Date: Thursday 9 October
3. Pointed stones and broken bones
Dr Stan Serafin, Central Queensland University
Date: Thursday 16 October
4. The enigma of La Malinche: the woman in the conquest of the Aztecs
Anna Lanyon, author and historian
Date: Thursday 6 November
5. Ritual violence in Mesoamerica
Dr Chris Carter, archaeologist, ANU
Date: Thursday 13 November, 2014
6. Aztecs: where are they now?
Professor Barry Carr, historian
Date: Thursday 20 November
7. The Aztec mind
Emeritus Professor Peter Mathews, LaTrobe University
Date: Thursday 4 December
8. Messages from the sky
Professor Fred Watson, Astronomer, Anglo Australian Telescope
Date: Thursday 15 January 2015
9. Native women’s power before and after the fall of the Aztec Empire
Dr Blanca Tovias, University of Sydney
Date: Thursday 22 January 2015
10. Fall of the Aztecs
Chris Carter, archaeologist, ANU
Date: Thursday 29 January 2015
How to book
Series ticket (10 Night Talks): $290 ($180 Members). Please book online below.
Individual Night Talk tickets: $30 ($20 Members). Please book by clicking on the links above.
For questions or enquiries, please contact our Members team on (02) 9320 6225 or via email.
“Mochica Kings: Divinity and Power in Ancient Peru” – Ethnography Museum of Geneva, Switzerland Exhibit
November 1, 2014 – May 3, 2015
A collection of artifacts from Peru’s ancient Moche culture has become more than an object of admiration for its undisputed artistic importance and will be on display at the Ethnography Museum of Geneva (MEG), in Switzerland.
Starting early next month “Mochica kings: Divinity and power in ancient Peru” will be showcasing latest treasures unearthed from the tomb of the Lord of Ucupe, buried between 340-540 CE and is located 475 miles north of the nation’s capital Lima.
From October 1st, 2014 through May 3rd, 2015, the exhibition will be displaying artifacts such as bottles, glasses, nose-rings, crowns, masks and diadems.
According to the Minister of Culture, the exhibition is aimed at promoting Peruvian ancient cultures worldwide, therefore it has authorized the departure of said valuable objects belonging to the National Cultural Heritage to be exhibited in the Geneva’s museum.
“Said artifacts will return to their place of origin within 30 calendar days following the exhibition’s closing date”, the MC noted through a supreme decree.
Renowned for their monumental architecture and rich visual culture, the Moche society inhabited the north coast of Peru during the Early Intermediate Period (AD 100–800).
They were innovators on many political, ideological, and artistic levels. They developed a powerful elite and specialized craft production, and instituted labor tribute payments.
This early Peruvian civilization elaborated new technologies in metallurgy, pottery, and textile production, and finally, they created an elaborate ideological system and a complex religious iconography.
Ethnography Museum of Geneva
“Revelation of a Time Without End” Musee du Quai Branly Museum Exhibit Paris, France
October 7, 2014 – February 8, 2015
The Mayans of pre-Hispanic times, creators of a fascinating civilization, left to posterity dozens of cities revealing striking architecture, a sculpture of great technical perfection, many frescoes, constructions, ceramic vases and a detailed record of their religious beliefs, their rituals, their community life, their habits and their history.
This exhibition features the legacy of the Maya to humanity. Next thematically – the relationship to nature, the power of cities, funeral rites – it lets us see the various aspects of this culture and its creative genius. The exhibition seeks to both general overviews and show the variety of styles and aesthetic achievements of the different Mayan groups, each with its own language and its own expression.
“Peruvian Gold: Ancient Treasures Unearthed” – Exhibition organized with the National Geographic Museum Presented by Irving Arts Center
October 4 – December 31, 2014
Peruvian Gold is presented in partnership with the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. and will showcase extraordinary objects from Peru’s pre-Inca heritage, including gold ceremonial and funerary masks, textiles, ceremonial ornaments, ceramics and jewelry. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be El Tocado, the largest and most ornate pre-Columbian headdress ever discovered. The extraordinary gold headdress dates from the Middle Sican period (A.D. 900-1100). This exhibition marks the first time it has been on display in the United States since it was unearthed in 1991.
Guest curated by National Geographic’s Archaeology Fellow Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, “Peruvian Gold” features iconic artifacts on loan from three Peruvian institutions: Sican National Museum, Larco Museum and Museum of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru. Irving is the only location outside of Washington D.C. to host Peruvian Gold. For More Click Here.