Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mérida - Mayan art

So, the museum I mentioned in my previous post? Palacio Cantón. Amazing! In a huge mansion on Paseo Montejo, this is what a museum should be like. 

To begin with, there was an exhibition on the Maya aesthetic! I was dying to see something like that! The prehispanic Mayas had a very rich, complex society, and I was so looking forward to finding something that would let me understand more about their ideals of beauty. And this exhibition they had was so meticulously curated, so mindfully arranged...

You had a room that explained cranial modifications, with both figurines and extremely well done informative cards (no, really, incredibly well done!). Another room that explained body art in a similar fashion. As well as teeth modifications, scarification, fashion (hats, skirts, necklaces, earrings!)... Impressive, educational, and not boring in the least.

You also had a beautiful section on writing, with awesome pieces. There was a phonetic element to the script, but many characters could represent the same sound, and there was no predetermined way of arranging the different parts of a syllable, so there was lots of artistic leeway in writing words.

Since the animal world was of paramount importance, there was another section with pieces representing the animal world, or related to it somehow. Monkeys, bats, serpents, rodents, birds... Some were more naturalistic, some were truly fantastic. All were mesmerizing to look at!

Of course, there had to be a section on deities (not part of the special exhibit on the Mayan aesthetic). Of all the crazy pieces we saw, I chose this one to share: the moon goddess. With a rabbit. The rabbit the Maya thought they saw on the moon when looking up. 

Finally, a number of myths were beautifully represented on vases and plates and incense-holders, like scenes from the Popol Vuh (a corpus of mythical narratives)... 

This museum was the bomb. I adored it. It actually was one of the very last things we saw on our trip, so sorry for presenting it sort of out of chronological order. But I was dying to talk about it. And it was damn hard to choose which pictures to share! I took so many! Awesome place, no doubt.

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