Michael Barnes, head of exhibitions at the Royal BC Museum, Nikolai Grube, chair of the Anthropology of the Americas department at the University of Bonn and Sofia Paredes-Maury, director of La Ruta Maya Foundation, unveil a statue known simply as “the Jaguar Man.” The statue was found by a Guatemalan farmer and entered the art market before being returned to La Ruta Maya Foundation, a Guatemalan agency that aims to repatriate historic pieces of art. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

The jaguar rises at the Royal BC Museum’s new Maya exhibition

The new exhibit will offer pieces from Guatemala that have never been displayed before

Long before Europeans came to Central America the Maya people ruled the land with an advanced society rich in technology, culture, language and spirituality.

At the peak of the Maya hierarchy is the Jaguar, an emblematic figure of power and transcendence between the world of the living and the dead.

This inspired the Royal BC Museum’s newest exhibit Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises, which will open on May 17 until December 31.

“This new exhibition, a world premier, boasts the largest and most impressive display of Maya objects ever seen with more than 300 precious jade, ceramic, stone and textile artifacts reflecting classic and contemporary Maya culture,” said Leah Best, head of knowledge at the Royal BC Museum.

VIDEO: Royal BC Museum unveils rare artifact in upcoming Maya exhibit

Many of the objects have never been seen outside of Guatemala, while others are making their inaugural appearance.

“It’s the largest Maya exhibit which has ever been shown in Canada and probably North America,” said Nikolai Grube, chair of the Anthropology of the Americas department at the University of Bonn.

Grube read aloud passages of carefully preserved Maya hieroglyphics dating back 1300 years and marvelled at how much of the language is still preserved in Central America today.

“One of the aims of this display is to show the continuity of Maya culture from its beginnings in the second and first millennium, before Christ, until the present day,” Grube said. “The great relevance of the exhibition is because this year is the UNESCO year of Indigenous languages. We’ll show the relevance of the Indigenous languages of Guatemala, and the resilience of these languages, a topic which of course resonates here in Canada. “

ALSO READ: Royal BC Museum seeks public input while facing seismic, accessibility issues

A majority of the exhibit focuses on Maya culture between the 2nd-9th century, displaying innovative art, jewellery and architecture. All the pieces are original, with the exception of a few replicas made so that people can touch them.

A smaller portion of the exhibit also shows modern day Maya culture with examples picked from the customs of the six million contemporary Maya people on earth today.

The display will open at 10 a.m. on Friday May 17.

For more information, you can visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

 

Nikolai Grube, chair of the Anthropology of the Americas department at the University of Bonn, stands in front of an ancient Maya tablet which displays a king of the time. Originally, the slab had been painted in bright colours. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of the expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded stadium in Langford is on schedule for Aug. 24

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline Indigifest 2019 coming to Victoria

Scheduled for Aug. 24, the event is a showcase of Indigenous musicians from around B.C.

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Most Read