Friday, January 25, 2013

Heavely Jade of the Maya

Right down the street from where I work is Inter-American Development Bank. In its building is a Gallery. I've walked passed it dozen of times and never gone in. The other day while heading home I decided to take a peek.

What a neat place. It's only a few rooms but the exhibit was fantastic.

The exhibit is:

Heavenly Jade of the Maya

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center and the Country Department for Belize, Central America, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic, will host the exhibit entitled “Heavenly Jade of the Maya” comprising rare jade jewelry and objects from recent archaeological discoveries.  The exhibit will commemorate the ending of the Maya calendar cycle (December 21, 2012) known as bak´tun, and the beginning of a new era. The Mesoamerican civilization studied the movement of the stars for centuries, and constructed a conceptual foundation to explain the relation of the individual and the cosmos. The exhibit displays the creative wealth worn by powerful nobles to keep their rituals and beliefs alive, since the Maya considered jade more precious than gold.
The contents of the exhibition are from the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Guatemala City. Part of the exhibition project includes financing a technical cooperation to train three Guatemalans in jade conservation in a newly installed laboratory facility at the museum.

I only took a brief look but want to go back and take my time seeing the wonderful things in it. This will give you an idea of what's there.

Funerary mask from tomb 196, Tikal. Mosaic of carved jade and Spondylus shell pieces. ca. 700 CE. This treasure from Tikal never leaves Guatemala. It is the head of the avian Sun god, made of jade mosaic pieces, and would have been worn by a king in full ceremonial dress. National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Guatemala. Image courtesy of Jesús López.

The gallery is at 1300 New York Avenue in DC. If you have a chance stop by for a look or go to their website and see all the other exhibits they are participating in. A very cool find.

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