Ancient and Living Maya in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Archaeological Discovery, Literary Voice and Political Struggle
On exhibit through Jan. 27, 2013
Wilson Special Collections Library
Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Alia Wegner (919) 962-1143
The remarkable history of the Maya and their culture, as told through rare books, pamphlets, maps, and recent publications, is the topic of an exhibit now on view in the Wilson Special Collections Library.
Ancient and Living Maya in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Archaeological Discovery, Literary Voice and Political Struggle will run through Jan. 27, 2013.
The exhibit features materials from the George E. and Melinda Y. Stuart Collection in Wilson Library’s Rare Book Collection. Stuart (UNC Ph.D. ’75), the author of numerous books and articles on the Maya, worked for National Geographic for nearly forty years.
The Maya peoples of Southern Mexico and Central America developed the most enduring writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas. After the Spanish invasion of Mesoamerica in the sixteenth century, Maya hieroglyphic writing—which originated around 500 B.C.—came to an end. Fearful of texts that they could not read, Spanish conquerors and missionaries destroyed countless books.
The free public exhibit relates the struggle of the Maya people for autonomy and equity in the volatile era of new nation-states, alongside the story of European peoples’ discovery of Maya sites and Mayan languages and literary traditions.
Materials on display document the activities of archaeologists and linguists, as well as the dramatic political history of the region, including the Caste War of Yucatán, one of the longest-running insurgencies of the nineteenth century. Recent novels and poetry by Maya writers give witness to the current Maya cultural renaissance, which has origins in the 1970s and 1980s.
Photographs of Maya peoples and sites from the 1950s on, as well as Maya garments and textiles from the same period from the personal collection of George Stuart, are featured in a concurrent exhibit at the FedEx Global Education Center, on view through Dec. 14.
Viewings of the exhibits will be part of 13 Bak’tun: New Maya Perspectives in 2012, a free public symposium at UNC on Oct. 25 and 26. The symposium includes the voices of Maya people in lectures, open classes, and readings of Maya poetry.
Visit the symposium website for complete schedule information.
- 13 Bak’tun: New Maya Perspectives in 2012 (symposium website)
- Symposium, exhibits examine new Maya perspectives in 2012 (UNC News release)