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Majesty of the ancient Maya

Posted on Monday 11th May 2015
Queen of Uxmal sculpture

Queen of Uxmal limestone sculpture. © Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Image by Ignacio Guevara.

Uncover hidden treasures of an extraordinary civilisation

World Museum in Liverpool will invite visitors to uncover the hidden treasures of the ancient Mayas this summer, with the opening of a breathtaking exhibition in the city; the only place to host it in the UK.

Opening on 19 June and running until 18 October 2015, Mayas: revelation of an endless time, looks back thousands of years to the Mesoamerican civilisation of the ancient Maya.

The free exhibition will take visitors on an illuminating journey to an age of majestic warriors, astronomy and learning, shamanic rituals and human sacrifice.

Steve Judd, Director of World Museum said:

“It’s a great honour to have Mayas: revelation of an endless time coming to Liverpool. Not only is World Museum the only place you can see the exhibition in the UK, it’s also free entry, making it accessible to all.”

The ancient Maya kingdoms stretched from eastern Mexico to modern day Guatemala, Belize and into western Honduras and El Salvador, from 1000BC – AD 1542.

What made the ancient Mayas look to the stars? Why was their civilisation so powerful? How did they communicate? Find out the answers and other revealing facts in Mayas: revelation of an endless time.

Through 385 stunning objects from museums and historical sites in Mexico, the exhibition explores this extraordinary people whose culture is still alive today.

Objects include an impressive stone ball court ring and a ceramic figurine of a ball player. The ancient Maya played the first ever documented team sport; a game with a ball, two opposing sides, an arena and spectators. Players wore padding on the hips, and many wore elaborate headdresses. The stone ball court ring, with intricate carvings of entwined feathered serpents, was found in Chichén Itzá, one of the largest Mesoamerican cities. Visitors to the exhibition can learn what the deadly consequences of the ball game were.

Visitors will also be able to see an object dating back more than 700 years, demonstrating the great significance of nature to the ancient Mayas. A striking small golden frog with turquoise eyes symbolises close links between amphibians, water-based gods and the underworld. To the ancient Mayas, the croak of frogs and toads was important as it announced the arrival of rain, leading to the renewal of the earth.

The Ambassador of Mexico, Diego Gomez-Pickering said:

“Undoubtedly this exhibition will unveil mesmerizing details about the Mayan civilization, but also will showcase to every visitor the value of Mexico’s history and the great diversity of its cultural routes.”

Throughout the exhibition’s run there is a programme of free events, including a celebration weekend in July, Mexican folk dance and traditional music, workshops for schools and public provided in partnership with Mexicolore, an independent team specialising in educational resources on Mexico, craft activities exploring Maya culture provided by the local Mexican community, a talk by TV presenter and historian, Dr Jago Cooper, and an academic symposium led by Professor Elizabeth Baquedano, renowned expert on the Pre-Hispanic world.

There will be an opportunity to purchase beautiful Mexican jewellery and crafts in the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition shop at World Museum.

Mayas: revelation of an endless time has been produced by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) in Mexico. It is part of the 2015 Dual Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom in Mexico.

The World Cultures Gallery within World Museum contains stunning objects from our Americas collection, ranging from South America to the Arctic, with a large display of Mesoamerican archaeology.

To celebrate the Year of Mexico in the UK, World Museum will also show its Codex Fejérvary-Mayer, an exceptionally rare deer skin book from the Mixtec of central Mexico, for the duration of the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition.

For more details on the exhibition, please visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mayas and mexicouk2015.mx/en/.

#mayasrevelation

#MXUK2015

Notes to editors

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

World Museum

From the sea to the stars, a visit to World Museum reveals millions of years of the Earth’s history through thousands of exhibits and hands on activities. Find out how humans have created the world we inhabit, from Africa to the Americas, Asia and Europe. Look out for the Ancient Egypt gallery where our collection is amongst the finest in Europe, bringing this age old civilisation to life. Discover the wonders of the natural world in the Clore Natural History Centre, packed full of mounted and preserved specimens of all types of animals, as well as rocks, minerals, fossils and plants. The Aquarium is home to fish from Australia to Anglesey, while an array of creepy crawlies live in the Bug House. Then, blast off on a spectacular journey through space and time as the universe unfolds around you in the Planetarium.

World Museum was short listed for the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award in 2012 and winner of the Family Go Live! ‘Best day out for under 12s’ Award in 2014.

World Museum
William Brown Street
Liverpool
L3 8EN
UK
Open 10am – 5pm daily
Free entry