Boshell Lecture: Fashions from the Jungle: Ancient Maya Dress and Adornment

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From the deep jungles of Central America, home to some of the most beautiful and exotic animals, flowers, and natural minerals, arose the fascinating civilization of the ancient Maya. Their exquisite artworks show how they made use of the resources in their tropical environment to make colorful and striking apparel, such as headdresses with long, shimmering feathers, dazzling jade jewelry, and textiles dyed in rich hues and shades. Not only did the Maya clothe and adorn their bodies, but they also modified the shape of their heads and teeth and changed the color of their hair and skin. The myriad of creative ways that the Maya presented and altered their body surfaces makes it clear that they were aficionados of dressing and adorning themselves fashionably. Join archaeologist Dr. Cara Grace Tremain for an evening of learning about, and marveling at, the world of ancient Maya attire.

Dr. Tremain is an instructor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Langara College in Vancouver. Her doctoral dissertation was a study of ancient Maya dress and identity and her research has involved the representation of textiles and the manufacturing process of cloth and colorants. She has acted as a consultant on Maya dress for Archaeology and Discover magazines and has authored several articles related to Maya dress elements. She is editor of the upcoming publication The Market for Mesoamerica: Reflections on the Sale of Pre-Columbian Antiquities, and a contributing author to the forthcoming volume The Body Adorned: Mapping Ancient Maya Dress.

This talk is presented by the Boshell Family Lecture Series on Archaeology and is part of our Spring Fashion Series.

Image: Wall panel depicting Ix K'an Bolon ("Lady Yellow Nine") in ritual dress, Maya, 790 CE, limestone, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark, 1968.39.FA

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Tickets $5, DMA Members and students FREE (with valid ID)