Pre-Columbian art in the news - September 2010

1. MEXICO CITY.- Fifteen years ago, 5 ceremonial censers were found in community plots at Tlahuac, a Mexico City delegation. The dwellers are celebrating the return of one of them dedicated to Chicomecoatl, the Mexica maize goddess, which replica will be guarded at Cuitlahuac Regional Community Museum from September 4th 2010. It was in August 3rd 1995 when Jesus Galindo Ortega discovered the terracotta censers covered with stucco, which dimensions go from 106 to 120 centimeters and present a great ornamental richness, as well as a good conservation state. These high-quality pieces represent priests dressed as deities participating in a ceremony dedicated to maize and fertility, as the 36th Borbonic Codex page illustrates, where several lords at the Titl ceremony carry the same iconographic elements of the censers. The censers represent Xilonen, goddess of fertility; Chicomecoatl, ... More


2. MEXICO CITY.- Nearly 6,000 fragments of Teotihuacan-style ceramics, more than 1,400 years old, were found recently in Costa Grande Region, in Guerrero, by specialists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). The finding reveals that Prehispanic groups such as Tepoztecas, Cuitlatecas and Tomiles that dwelled the area had relations with Teotihuacan, and not only Mezcala groups as thought before. “Fragments of vessels and flat bowls with finger support, some of them with the Tlaloc effigy and theater censers of a Teotihuacan style never seen before in Guerrero were found”, explained the archaeologist Rosa Maria Reyna, who explored with Elizabeth Galeana the El Embarcadero Archaeological Site, where the finding took place. “This finding opens new interpretations about the relations of Teotihuacan people with other cultures, and at the same time, promotes research of cultures and archaeological ... More
3. MEXICO CITY.- Recent explorations conducted by experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) point out that Plan de Ayutla Archaeological Site, in Chiapas, could have been the political center where the lineage that founded Bonampak originated,more than 1,400 years ago. This hypothesis is based on interpretation of inscriptions at different monuments. The archaeological zone that will be open to public before 2012, according to the compromise of President Felipe Calderon, could have been in Prehispanic times one of the legendary cities identified by epigraphic as Sak T’zi or Ak’e. The first hypothesis regarding Plan de Ayutla identity points out that it might have been Sak T’zi, city that between 600 and 800 AD struggled with Maya metropolis of Tonina, Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan, informed archaeologist Luis Alberto Martos. The site located in Ocosingo municipality “is key to unders ... More
4. MEXICO CITY.- One of the earliest human skeletons of America, which belonged to a person that lived more than 10,000 years ago, in the Ice Age, was recovered by Mexican specialists from a flooded cave in Quintana Roo. The information it has lodged for centuries will reveal new data regarding the settlement of the Americas. The Young Man of Chan Hol, as the skeleton is known among the scientific community, due to the slight tooth wear it presents, which indicates an early age, is the fourth of our earliest ancestors found in the American Continent, and has been studied as part of a National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) project. After 3 years of studies conducted In Situ to prevent information loss, the Chan Hol skeleton was subtracted from the water by a team of specialists headed by biologist Arturo Gonzalez, coordinator of the project Study of Pre Ceramic Men of Yucatan Peninsula and director of Museo del De ... More

5. CHICAGO, IL - Art Institute of Chicago Showcases Major Works of Pre-Columbian Art from Mexico On September 16, 2010, Mexico will commemorate the bicentennial of its independence from Spain and the centennial of the 1910 Revolution that led to the formation of its modern republic. In recognition of these significant anniversaries, the Art Institute of Chicago joins dozens of other cultural organizations around Chicago to participate in the citywide celebration Mexico 2010. Working with the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City and the Museo Arqueológico de Xalapa, the Art Institute will present an exhibition of sculptural masterpieces from the country’s ancient civilizations, many of which have never before been seen in the United States. Ballplayers, Gods, and Rainmaker Kings: Masterpieces from Ancient Mexico opens September 16, 2010 in the museum’s Regenstein Hall (on view until January 2, 2011) and features seventeen extraordinary works of pre-Columbian origin spanning more than two millennia.
6. PHILADELPHIA, PA. - University Museum, University of Pennslyvania -River of Gold: Precolumbian Treasures from Sitio Conte is available and ready to travel. This exhibit presents more than 120 exquisitely crafted pieces of Precolumbian goldwork from Penn Museum’s 1940 excavations at the ancient cemetery site of Sitio Conte in what is now central Panama. The exhibition includes large embossed plaques, cast pendants and nose ornaments, gold-sheathed ear rods, and necklaces of intricate beads—as well as polychrome ceramics, and objects made of precious and semi-precious stones, whale-tooth ivory, and bone. In the first section of the exhibit, visitors are introduced to the geographical setting of central Panama and the excavations at Sitio Conte.The exciting story of the dramatic find of a multi-grave burial containing a wealth of gold is told through site photographs, maps, drawings, even a video from the original color film of the archaeological team. The second section reconstructs lifestyles of Precolumbian society in ancient Panama. The third section analyzes the tantalizing iconography found on Sitio Conte goldwork and ceramics to help viewers interpret aspects of a long-lost ideology. The sophisticated metallurgical processes by which the goldsmiths of Sitio Conte achieved extraordinary results are thoughtfully explained in the final section of the exhibition. River of Gold: Precolumbian Treasures from Sitio Conte is not only visually stunning, it also gives viewers an invaluable glimpse into a Panamanian society as it was 1,000 years ago.