Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea exhibition

Incense burner with a deity with aquatic elements, 700–750, Palenque, Mexico. Ceramic, 46 3/4 x 22 1/4 x 7 7/8 in. (118.5 x 56.5 x 20 cm). Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes—Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Museo de Sitio de la Zona Arqueológia de Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 10-604759. Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum, photograph © 2009 Jorge Pérez de Lara

Later this month the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas will open a new exhibition titled “Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea,” which reveals and interprets the importance of water to the ancient Maya.

Shark teeth, stingray spines, sea creatures and waterfowl appear in works of stone and clay; supernatural crocodiles breathe forth rain; cosmic battles take place between mythic beasts and deities—all part of anew and vivid picture of the Maya worldview.

Crocodile effigy, 700–800, Jaina Island, Mexico. Ceramic, 2 x 3 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. (5.1 x 8.5 x 18.7 cm).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection,
Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979. Photograph © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Figurine of the Jaguar God of the Underworld riding a crocodile, 700–800, Jaina Island, Mexico. Ceramic,
9 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. (24.9 x 19.1 x 8.4 cm). National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

“Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea” is open August 29, 2010 through January 2, 2011.

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