Distinguished Lecture in Art of the Ancient Americas: THE MURALS OF SAN BARTOLO AND
The Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University
Distinguished Lecture in Art of the Ancient Americas
April 12, 2012
STUDENT FORUM - THURSDAY MORNING, 10:30 am
ON THE ROAD OF FLOWERS: THE SYMBOLISM OF LIFE, MUSIC AND PARADISE IN MESOAMERICA AND THE GREATER SOUTHWEST
One of the striking but also subtle visual traditions shared by Mesoamerica and the Greater Southwest of the United States is that of the floral paradise. Esteemed for their sensual aspects of beauty and scent, but also as symbols of the soul and the afterlife, the flower, or the "Flower World" complex first discussed by Jane Hill, is ancient, and can be readily traced to the Olmec (ca. 1200-500 BC), at a time when maize agriculture became widespread in Mesoamerica. In this presentation, Dr. Taube discusses the symbolic significance of flowers, including their relation to the breath soul and music. He also describes the related concepts of Flower Mountain and the solar Flower Road, a supernatural path embodied by the plumed serpent both in Mesoamerica and the Greater Southwest.
DISTINGUISHED LECTURE - THURSDAY EVENING, 7 pm
THE MURALS OF SAN BARTOLO AND
THE MYTHIC ORIGINS OF ANCIENT MAYA GODS AND KINGS
The murals of San Bartolo, Guatemala constitute one of the richest visual sources of information about ancient Maya creation mythology. Recognized for their exceptional beauty, the paintings are also among the earliest known, dating to the first century B.C. Discovered in 2001 within a buried chamber, the murals predate the Classic Maya sites of Tikal, Copán and Palenque by hundreds of years, and form an important link between the religious beliefs and practices of the still earlier Olmec and the later Classic Maya. In his distinguished lecture, Professor Taube discusses the discovery and excavation of the mural paintings and their symbolic significance, elaborating upon such themes as the creation of humankind, the world directions, and the mythic origins of Maya kingship. In addition, the talk outlines some of the most recent findings at San Bartolo, including still finer murals from another structure, and the earliest writing and mural painting known for the ancient Maya.
About our Distinguished Lecturer
Karl Taube is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. He currently serves as Project Iconographer for the San Bartolo Project, Petén, Guatemala. Taube has conducted extensive archaeological and linguistic fieldwork in Yucatan, and has participated on archaeological projects in Chiapas, Mexico, coastal Ecuador, highland Peru, Copán, Honduras, and in the Motagua Valley of Guatemala. His current research centers upon the writing and religious systems of Mesoamerica.
Books and Monographs (selected)
The Murals of San Bartolo, El Peten, Guatemala, Part 1: The North Wall (2005) with William Saturno and David Stuart), Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks (2004), The Writing System of Ancient Teotihuacan (2000), The View from Yalahau: 1993 Archaeological Investigations in Northern Quintana Roo, Mexico (1995, editor with Scott Fedick), Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (1993, with Mary Ellen Miller), Aztec and Maya Myths (1993), and The Major Gods of Ancient Yucatan (1992).
About the Series
The Distinguished Lecture series is an annual event sponsored by the Department of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins University under the direction of Prof. Lisa DeLeonardis. It is aimed at drawing scholarly attention to the rich pre-Hispanic visual culture of Mesoamerica and the Andes. Now in its ninth year, the series fosters collaboration between the university and its partners in the arts and museums communities.