Mexico City boasts largest Mayan artifacts exhibit

MEXICO CITY -- Clients headed for Mexico's capital city can take in a cultural exhibition touted as the most extensive collection of Mayan artifacts ever presented in one show.

The exhibition, called "Los Mayas," opened last month at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, a cultural institution in the city's historic center. Scheduled to run through Dec. 31, the exhibition is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors.

On display are 540 restored artifacts of the Mayan civilization, which flourished for more than 2,000 years until the Spanish Conquest of the 16th century.

The Mayan civilization inhabited Mexico and several Central American countries, including Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The entire region is home to hundreds of Mayan ruins. In Mexico, the sites mainly are concentrated in the five states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan, with major Mayan cities including Chichen-Itza, Coba, Kabah, Palenque, Tulum and Uxmal.

The "Los Mayas" exhibition features glyphs, stelae, ceremonial altars, religious objects, frescoes and an enigmatic relief taken from a temple in Copan, a Mayan site in Honduras.

Mayan cities in Mexico are well represented, including a sculpted head of Pakal, king of Palenque, and a reconstruction of frescoes found in Bonampak. Other elements of the Los Mayas display include religious objects, jade masks, alabaster heads, obsidian sculptures, conch jewelry, eating utensils, alabaster bowls, plates and tiny toy sculptures. Pieces of the Los Mayas exhibition were obtained from museums and private collections.

The exhibition's host venue, the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, is located across from the archaeological site of Templo Mayor, the hub of the ancient Aztec civilization. Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso is a historic building founded as a Jesuit college in 1588. The building was restored in 1992, and has since staged a number of cultural and art exhibits that have drawn more than 3.5 million visitors.

The "Los Mayas" exhibition is open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Admission is $2.50, and children under 12 are admitted free. The museum offers free admission for the "Los Mayas" exhibition every Tuesday.

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
Phone: 011-52-5-702-6378

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