buried mirror: latest reflections

mesoamerica and the maya world

Author: xensen (Page 2 of 8)

Friday roundup

Virtual travels in Mesoamerica

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Maya multiplication

I don’t know anything about this. Is it really Maya?

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Viene el dia de los muertos

tom and friend at day of the dead

With Day of the Dead around the corner, Rafael Jesús González’s blog is well worth visiting. He traces the celebration from its ancient roots through the colonial period and into the present.

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Above: Me (right) and a friend, at the 2006 Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Oakland Museum. Tee shirt image by José Guadalupe Posada, photo by Anne Christensen.

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Turtles at Monterrico

While we’re on the subject of sea turtles, here’s a photo of baby turtles at Monterrico, on Guatemala’s Pacific coast, from guillermogg’s photostream.

baby sea turtles at monterrico on guatemala's pacific coast

By the way, this image is a good example of my technique for correcting color cast. I think it’s fair to say the original was a little blue:

sea turtles at monterrico on guatemala's pacific coast: unedited image

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Sea turtle project at La Barrona Hatchery, Guatemala

A behind the scenes look at volunteer-driven sea turtle conservation at the La Barrona in Guatemala.

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Sea turtles at Monterrico, Guatemala

Following up on my previous post about Monterrico, here’s a good video survey of the area.

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Black sand beach, Monterrico, Guatemala

black sand beach at monterrico, guatemala

Guatemala’s Pacific coast has some fine black sand beaches, such as this one at Monterrico. The area is not very developed for tourism, which has its advantages as well as some disadvantages. Get there by going to La Avellana and then taking a half-hour boat ride through the mangroves to the beach.

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Shown: detail of a photo from Walter Rodriguez’s photostream.

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Photo Wednesday: Maximon

Maximon: A Maya Folk Deity

This image of Maximon comes from cito’s photostream

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Wilfredo Lam and Carlos Luna

Wilfredo Lam painting

Wilfredo Lam (1902-19982) was an influential modernist Cuban painter. Among those who acknowledge his influence is the contemporary painter Carlos Luna. While Luna was born in Cuba, his work “deals in part with the duality of Cuban and Mexican heritage,” according to the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach, where a show of the artists’ work is being presented through the end of August. Luna’s work, like Lam’s, is rich in historical and cultural symbolism.

carlos luna, gran mambo

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Above: Wifredo Lam, Untitled, ca. 1947, oil on canvas 49 x 59 ¼ in.
Below: Carlos Luna, El Gran Mambo, 2006, oil on canvas, 144 x 192 in.

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Is that Maximon playing the marimba?

, along with some recollections of Maximon.

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Life has imputantly interfered with Buried Mirror’s posting schedule this summer. In upcoming days I will be backfilling and trying to get back into the flow.

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Photo Wednesday: painted bowls

painted bowls at chichen itza

This image of painted bowls at Chichen Itza comes from saguayo’s photostream.

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Mexico’s best natural attractions

According to the LA Times, that is. It lists six of them:

  • Michoacán’s Million Monarch March:
  • Whale-Watching
  • Sea-Turtle Nesting Beaches
  • Lago Bacalar
  • Copper Canyon
  • Desert Landscapes in Baja Sur

What do you think of this list?

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Friday Roundup

Incidents of virtual travel in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and greater Mesoamerica

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Photo Wednesday: Agua Volcano, Antigua, Guatemala

agua volcano, antigua, guatemala

This view of Agua Volcano from somewhere near the Parqueo Central in Antigua, Guatemala, is from hexod.us’ photostream.

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Tropical storm Arthur batters Belize

It almost seems that half of Central and North America has been flooded lately. Southern Belize was particularly hard hit by tropical storm Arthur.

Friday Roundup

Incidents of virtual travel . . .

Volver volver

I’m back after a little medical absence.

Back soon

Buried Mirror is on medical leave and will be back soon.

Photo Wednesday: motmots

turquoise-browed motmots

This image of turquoise-browed motmots comes from jvverde’s photostream.

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Friday Roundup

What’s new in virtual Mesoamerica

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Photo Wednesday: Painted table top

painted table top from Guanajuato, México

This photo of a table top painted with images of colorful fruit, taken in a crafts shop in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico, is from Lucy Nieto’s photostream.

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Friday Roundup

Juan Soriano at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

juan soriano, the dead girl (1938)

Juan Soriano (1920-2006) was born in Guadalajara, son of veterans of the Mexican revolution. Something of a prodigy, he developed his distinctive style after moving to Mexico City when he was fifteen.

According to the exhibition label for this painting (The Dead Girl, 1938, oil on panel, 18 1/2 x 31 1/2 inches (47 x 80 cm), Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clifford, 1947, 1947-29-3),

Soriano painted this 1938 work shortly after seeing a Veracruz household whose front window displayed a dead child dressed like an angel, notifying the neighbors of the baby’s passing. Postmortem images of children were common in Mexican painting (and, later, photography) beginning in the colonial era. While this tradition originally developed in Renaissance Europe, it had a particular importance in Latin America. Mexican modernists Frida Kahlo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Julio Castellanos also created famous examples of this theme.

John Everett Millais’ Ophelia (1852) makes an interesting contrast. Both figures are surrounded by flowers, but the flowers in Soriano’s picture only point up the starkness of the figure by their contrast; Millais’ Ophelia seems to be drifting into a flowery world — she holds flowers in her hand and even her dress echoes floral patterns. Millais’ Ophelia holds her hands open to her fate; Soriano’s girl clinches her hands together. In her madness Ophelia stares vacantly skyward; the eyes of Soriano’s girl are pressed tightly shut. The difference reflect the styles of the moment, but they also suggest something of the artists’ temperaments. Soriano’s world is one in which the very edges of the canvas seem to press in on the image with a suffocating force.

millais, ophelia, 1852

Fragile Demon: Juan Soriano in Mexico, 1935-1950 collects 16 early works by the artist. It runs through Sunday.

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Photo Wednesday

campeche chiles

Today’s photo, of chiles in a market in Campeche, comes from malias’ photostream.

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Mexico and the modern print

mexico y la estampa moderna

Mexico City’s Museo Nacional de Arte is offering what looks like a strong show of Mexican printmaking from 1920-1950. The full title is México y la Estampa Moderna, 1920-1950: Una Revolución en las Artes Gráficas. Included are works by Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco, Leopoldo Méndez, and many less familiar artists. Click the image above for a video preview on the museum’s website. The exhibition runs through June 8.

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via Jim Johnston

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A Maya suspension bridge?

maya suspension bridge

A fellow named James O’Kon claims that the Maya built the longest bridge span in the ancient world.

His theory is based on computer reconstructions derived from a 12-foot high and 35-foot diameter rock formation in the Usamacinta River near the site of Yaxchilan, which flourished between 500 and 700. A similar second structure was discovered in 1992.

O’Kon, who is former chairman of the forensic council of the American Society of Civil Engineers, enlisted the services of his Atlanta engineering firm to create a reconstruction of the bridge.

To my eye the bridge does not look consistent with known Maya architecture.

The full story is at the Georgia Tech Alumni website, which is also the source of the image shown above.

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Friday Roundup

MetaMeso

Ancient Maya produced high-quality textiles

girl with embroidered blouse in momostenango, guatemala

That the ancient Maya produced high-quality textiles will come as little surprise to anyone who has traveled through the modern Maya world. But because few textiles are preserved from ancient times, it has been difficult to confirm that this was the case. Now researchers at the University of Rhode Island have performed a lab analysis of forty-nine samples from a tomb at Copan. The analysis showed a high degree of sophistication in the textiles’ manufacture — one had a count of 100 yarns per inch, which would be high by modern technology and consequently “speaks to the technology they had at the time for making very fine fabrics” according to textiles conservator Margaret Ordoñez.

The story is at ScienceDaily. The article has a weird lead, which claims that “Very few textiles from the Mayan culture have survived.” When will people learn that the Maya culture is still very much alive? And that “Mayan” is the adjective for the language, not the culture?

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Image of girl from Momostenango from DavidDennis’ photostream

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Photo Wednesday

downtown guatemala city at night

This image of the National Palace and downtown Guatemala City at night is from Oscar Mota’s photostream.

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Precolumbian treasures confiscated in Germany

example of art object seized by bavarian police

Police in Bavaria have confiscated an estimated $100 million worth of Mayan, Aztec and Incan treasures. A resident of Costa Rica purports to own the objects, which were transported to Germany without proper permits. It’s unclear how they came to be in his possession. The Local: Germany’s News in English reports

According to the Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the man, identified as Leonardo Augustus P., claims to be a former diplomat who properly obtained the artifacts. The man, now a resident primarily of Geneva, is reportedly well-known to police dealing with smuggled art and exotic animals on several continents. He has even picked up the unflattering nickname “The Thief of the Treasures” in his native Costa Rica.

On the subject of looting and theft of antiquities, although it is not about the Latin American region, I recommend an excellent recently published book, The Medici Conspiracy.

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shown: Bavarian police photo

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