Maya Art at Kimbell Art Museum
Among many of the exhibitions at the museum there is one that would certainly attract tourists from all America. Fiery Pool: the Maya and the Mythic Sea, which will remain open until January 2, 2011. The exhibition was opened on August 29 this year and it comprises pieces categorized in four parts: Water and Cosmos, Creatures of the fiery pool, Navigating the Cosmos and Birth to rebirth. Some of the exhibits are recently discovered and for the first time exhibited in a museum.
All the exhibits remind people how fully developed this civilization was. Best known for the fully developed written language, architecture, mathematical and astronomical systems, the Maya art is also very wide known and was and still is very famous. The Maya art is characterized by sophistication, and the murals that survived until today, along with funerary pottery and ceramics reveal this stylization of Maya art. Another peculiarity of the Maya art is the Maya Blue or Azul Maya, a technique that made was used until the 16th century, after which it was lost, to make objects colored in a very bright and nice blue.
Some of these features of Maya art will be discovered in the exhibits displayed at the Kimbell Art Museum and they also talk about the culture and religion believes of this population. For example, in the Water and Cosmos part of the exhibition visitors are going to see how water was perceived. For the Maya, water was intelligent and animate, a force of birth and renewal. It was a symbol of fertility and life, as well as of the unknown, when it is rendered in the form of the sea. Therefore the exhibits will reveal all these believes through their paintings and through the figures which will be displayed. One of the figures is Chahk, the god of rain and storms, the world crocodile and world turtle, very important for the Maya culture.
In Creatures of the Fiery Pool the displays show creatures that were thought to have sacred powers, such as fish, frogs and birds. In Navigating the Cosmos representations of canoes on different ceramics and sculptures will tell you about the Maya belief in the supernatural journey and the connections to sacred power between people, nature and the other creatures. Lastly, the works exhibited in Birth to Rebirth represent the Maya belief in the cyclical life of time and nature. The birth of all cosmic elements and nature begins in water, from the East, to end in water in the West and then reborn back in the East. On the plates and incense burners displayed at the museum all these are going to be represented by the Maize god, who is an important god in the Maya pantheon.
This exhibition represents in fact a journey int the past, in the life and beliefs of the Maya civilization. The theme of water around which the exhibits are displayed also shows that the connection of the Maya with water was a very strong one. The use of blue, the representations of gods of water and of the creatures which live in the water or very close to it all these are nowadays key features that convey the message of the Maya: man and nature are strongly interrelated and they should respect each other.11