PUEBLA, Mexico – The rituals performed at the burials of Mayan leaders take on new life at the exhibition of archaeological items on display beginning Saturday at the Amparo Museum in this central city.
Under the title of “Faces of Divinity: The Mayan Mosaics of Green Stone,” the exhibition shows objects representing clothing that, according to the ancient beliefs, gave deceased rulers the divine power to rise up and enter the celestial realm transformed as the maize god.
Among the principal objects are 13 Mayan masks of green stone, a chest armor of shell, and two jade-and-shell items of attire that were buried with nobles of that culture’s Classic period (250-900 A.D.), the exhibition curator Sofia Martinez del Campo said Friday.
“We’re trying to make every piece in the exhibition look like it was just buried, so the visitor will understand the way that masks were placed together with funerary offerings and clothing,” the restorer said.
The collection was made possible by the gathering of many fragments found scattered among the Mayan tombs, and which reflect “the richness of a society ordered by class that paid tribute to its eminent figures, even in death.”
The pieces, 147 in total, were previously exhibited at the National Museum of Anthropology and the Clavijero Cultural Center in the city of Morelia in the western state of Michoacan.
Included as a novelty at the Amparo Museum is a relief of a Mayan potentate holding a ceremonial wand as a symbol of power and with a small prisoner at his feet, all a sign of who was in charge at the time.
The exhibition will remain open to the public until Aug. 29, 2011.