Treasures of Sacred Maya Kings
June 13, 2006–September 10, 2006
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor
Early in the first millennium A.D., Maya kings elaborated on an inherited tradition for interacting with supernatural powers by portraying themselves in the roles and costumes of divinities. Using specific symbolic attributes and performing conjuring rituals evoking deities and deified ancestors, the kings of city-states such as Calakmul in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala, and Copan in Honduras rendered themselves divine. The paired natural forces of the earth and sun—the earth in the guise of the ancient Maize God and the sun in the newly important Sun God—were incorporated into the power and person of the kings. Exhibited works include items of kingly regalia, objects that depict their real and mythic actions, and works that were part of these activities. The pieces range from large-scale relief sculpture in stone, to ceramic vessels of distinctive shape, to objects of carved jade, shell, bone, and pearl. Accompanied by a catalogue.
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