The blockbuster ‘Maya: The Exhibition’ has been extended until April 4th at the Cincinnati Museum Center
The Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) expands Maya: The exhibition’s first stop in the United States. The blockbuster exhibition with over 300 original objects immerses guests in a refined civilization that is buried in the heart of the rainforest. Maya: The exhibition has been extended until April 4th.
The exhibition shows over 300 original artifacts on loan from Guatemala, each of which describes an aspect of daily life, religion, politics and innovations of the Maya. Its design is reminiscent of the iconic step pyramids of civilization and the vivid colors of Mayan works of art. Immaculately preserved clay and stucco figures as well as artistic jade and gold jewelry show their craftsmanship. Hieroglyphs carved into massive stone slabs demonstrate the Maya’s refined script and their passion for telling their own story, often in the form of the reigns of their rulers. Large stone carvings and massive stucco sculptures depict the great pantheon of Mayan deities and tools, and everyday objects reveal the food, work, and play that defined daily life.
“Never before have such spectacular Mayan artifacts traveled to North America,” said Dave Duszynski, president of Mercury Museum Services, a subsidiary of the Cincinnati Museum Center. “The discoveries of the past 20 years have changed our understanding of the Maya and we are grateful that Guatemala has long shared these amazing national treasures with Cincinnati.”
The Maya flourished in cities made of stone carved in the jungles of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. Their civilization dates back to 3400 BC. Back in BC, but peaked in AD 600. During this time, their population density exceeded any other in the world. Their understanding of science, astronomy and mathematics was equal to or greater than that of other world cultures. They were inventors, innovators and geniuses whose achievements continue to shape our daily lives.
By studying the stars, they developed a calendar that is more accurate than any other in the world. Their use of the number zero opened the door to advanced math. Rubber balls were essential to Mayan sports centuries before the “discovery” of vulcanized rubber. And they introduced the world to chocolate.
“With the Maya we can explore and see how people without contact with other civilizations in Europe, Africa or Asia came up with similar ideas, inventions and solutions,” said Dr. Nikolai Grube, curator of Maya: The Exhibition and Professor of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn.
As the exhibition looks back at the height of Mayan civilization, it also recognizes the millions who still speak a Mayan language today, and the many others who are direct descendants. Far from being a lost or ancient civilization, the Maya are now thriving with new vibrancy.
The exhibit also includes a section on the University of Cincinnati’s archaeological work on Mayan sites in Central America. For over three decades, UC researchers have conducted research, fieldwork, and analysis to better understand the Maya and what may have led to the abandonment of their major cities. Her research reveals details about how the Maya managed their land, forest, and water resources and how they perceived the world around them. The gallery invites guests to ponder how Mayan innovation and adaptation strategies can be applied to parallel challenges we face today.
“Although the culture is ancient, Maya sent a very modern message,” added Dr. Pit added. “They were able to live in a tropical jungle without destroying it, and they developed a very sophisticated agricultural system that included building terraces and a canal system to collect, manage and conserve water even in the dry season. It is a valuable resource conservation lesson for all of us. “
Visit cincymuseum.org/maya for more information or to purchase tickets
Maya: The exhibition is produced by MuseumsPartner in collaboration with the National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology (MUNAE) and the La Ruta Maya Foundation in Guatemala. It is supported by the Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes de Guatemala.
Maya: The exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center is supported by Kroger and the Ruth J. and Robert A. Conway Foundation.