Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship

Begin Date2006-02-12
End Date2006-05-07
Last Harvested At2022-07-02
Credit LineThe exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It was proudly sponsored by Televisa. It was also made possible in part by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition programs were supported by Bank of America with support provided by Texas Instruments. The opening member events were generously underwritten by the Dallas Museum of Art League. the exhibition lecture series was supported by the Boshell Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Interceramic, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network-the Texas Financial Group, Verizon Wireless, Advance Global Communications, Darden Restaurants Foundation, Mico and Caroline Rodriguez/M Crowd Restaurants Group, Mission Foods, Toyota, and the Donor Circle membership program through leadership gifts by Charlene C. and Tom F. Marsh, the Sewell Family of Dealerships, and Mr. and Mrs. Vance Torbert. Air transportation provided by American Airlines. The hotel partner was the Westin Center Dallas. Promotional support provided by Al Dia, CBS 11, Infinity Broadcasting: JACK-FM, KLUV, KRLD, KVIL, John Eagle Dealerships, and Univision 23.
LocationChilton Galleries
OrganizerLos Angeles County Museum of Art
DescriptionThe Dallas Museum of Art presents the special exhibition Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship, featuring more than 150 objects, many on view for the first time in the United States. Through works of art made centuries ago - monumental sculpture in stone, polished jade figures and royal jewels, distinctive ceramic vessels, carved bone and shell - the exhibition opens a window on the past, to one of the world's most intriguing ancient civilizations. Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship explores the development of divine kingship among the ancient Maya, who lived in an area that encompassed modern southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and western Honduras. The Maya objects in the exhibition date mostly from the period 400 B.C. to A.D. 550. Maya city-states were ruled by individual lords, or kings, whose sacred authority was sanctioned by their ancestors and the gods. These divine kings interacted with supernatural powers through ritual performance, reenacting events of creation for the benefit of the community. The symbolic objects they wore and used reinforced their royal authority and affirmed their divine status. The exhibition traces the origins of sacred Maya kingship to the earlier Olmec culture, which flourished around 900 B.C. in its heartland along Mexico's Gulf Coast. Examples of Olmec stone sculpture express the importance of maize, or corn, as the staff of life as well as a source of wealth that brought exotic materials through trade and a primary symbol of kingship. The Maya continued this tradition of a maize-centered world view. Maya kings are shown wearing the regalia of the Maize God. Their rituals established the four directions of the cosmos, which symbolize the maize field, with the king in the guise of the Maize God as the central axis of the universe. Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship is presented in ten galleries encompassing more than 8,000 square feet of exhibition space. The works of art inspired by Maya divine kingship are organized in a series of themes: the origin of divine kings and the first Ajawob, the cosmos and the king, supernatural patrons, religious duties of the king, royal portraits, personal instruments of power, the origins of writing, royal feasting, international relations, and death and apotheosis. The exhibition is accompanied by an introductory video, which links ancient traditions to contemporary Maya culture. A reading room adjacent to the gallery devoted to writing will offer a computer station as well as books. The labels and didactic panels are bilingual, and the exhibition catalogue has been published in both Spanish and English. The Dallas showing will feature an audio tour, available in Spanish and English, that also includes stops in the Museum's permanent collection of ancient American art.