Cost: Free

The Splendid Maya Murals of Bonampak, Mexico

Ordinary Meeting of Fellows (Fellows and Guests Only)

The Splendid Maya Murals of Bonampak, Mexico

Please note: This is the updated lecture title, rather than 'Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza'.

Lecture by Mary Miller

Unfortunately, we do not have a recording for this lecture.

Painted in the last decade of the 8th century in the tropical rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico, and brought to modern attention in 1946, the wall paintings of Bonampak reveal the ancient Maya at the end of their splendor.  Using the most complex and luxurious palette of pigments known from prehispanic Mexico, a small group of trained artists rendered the rituals of court rituals, from human sacrifice to the receipt of foreign dignitaries. Who saw these remarkable paintings? Who sat in the architectural spaces the paintings adorned? With both newly commissioned and newly rediscovered photographs as well as recently completed reconstructions, this talk will bring this ancient performance to life, with particular attention to the performance and pageantry of the murals.

The lecturer, Mary Miller, recently completed The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (with Claudia Brittenham; 2013), but since publication she has continued to study Bonampak and make new discoveries!

Mary is a Sterling Professor of History of Art, served as dean of Yale College from December 2008 until June 2014. Before assuming the deanship, Miller served as master of Saybrook College for nearly a decade. A specialist of the art of the ancient New World, Miller curated The Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 2004. For that exhibition, she wrote the catalogue of the same title with Simon Martin, senior epigrapher at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Among her other books are The Murals of Bonampak, The Blood of Kings (with Linda Schele), The Art of Mesoamerica, Maya Art and Architecture, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (with Karl Taube), and A Pre-Columbian World (co-edited with Jeffrey Quilter). She has also recently completed Painting a Map of Mexico City (co-edited with Barbara Mundy; 2012, a study of the rare indigenous map in the Beinecke Library). (Biography extract taken from the Yale University Department of the History of Art).