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

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read