National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Image: Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, April 4 to July 25, 2004

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.

Image: Portrait head of Pakal, Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, AD 600-900 Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, the first exhibition ever devoted to this subject in the United States, will demonstrate the visual magnificence of ancient Maya art with over 130 masterworks drawn from the some 30 public and private lenders in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Chile, the United States, Switzerland, England, and Australia. The exhibition will present stone sculptures, ceramics, masks, and other precious works commissioned by ancient Maya kings and queens. In a period of just 200 years from AD 600-800, Maya kings and nobles, while living in the tropical rain forests of southern Mexico and adjacent Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize, transformed Maya art, achieving a peak of dramatic expression and naturalism unmatched in the ancient New World. Using examples from the ancient Maya cities of Palenque, Toniná, Yaxchilán, and Bonampak, among others, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya will examine political and religious power in the royal court, which served as the central force in the life of each city.

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