An exhibition dedicated to one of the oldest civilizations in the world

As part of the dual year between Germany and Mexico, you can visit the exhibition “The Maya – Language of Beauty” in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin from April 12th, 2016 to August 7th, 2016. It was opened on April 11, 2016 by the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto together with the Federal President Joachim Gauck and thus marks both the beginning and an absolute highlight of this Mexico-Germany friendship.

This unique exhibition provides insights into the ancient Mayan world and is organized by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) in cooperation with the Martin-Gropius-Bau and funded by the State Department of the United States of America and the Embassy of Mexico in Berlin.

The exhibition is open from Wednesdays to Mondays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and admission is 10 euros.

A series of lectures and a special programs for schoolchildren are also taking place in connection with the museum exhibition. Archaeologists from Mexico and Europe will present research on architecture, urban planning and the Mayan trade relations. Selected aspects of the exhibition will be focused on giving an in depth and detailed experience for the children.

The extensive exhibition gives an insight into one of the oldest cultures in the world and has a collection of approx. 300 works of art, many of which are valuable cultural assets and national treasures from Mexico. In addition to numerous reliefs, busts and figures made primarily of stone, lime and clay, there are also cultural objects such as jewelry and masks as well as showcases with filigree clay figures. Explanatory plates provide information about the meaning and origin of the individual works of art and the fascinating Mayan culture. There is a lot to read and explore, so make sure you give yourself time.

The Maya had created an unprecedented and elevated culture between 500 BC and 1500 AD, especially on the Yucatán peninsula in eastern Mexico. They developed a highly complex glyph font, a calendar and a sophisticated mathematical system as well as being known for their artistic ability and craftmanship. The body itself, which is the focus of the exhibition “The Maya – Language of Beauty”, is a fundamental aspect of pre-Hispanic art.

Accordingly, the exhibition is divided into the following four sections:

  1. “The Body as a Canvas”

In the intensely religious culture of the Maya, the body is considered a relationship with the gods. The body was the focus of  worship and grace of the gods. From painting to scars and tattoos, the body was used as a canvas. A fleeing forehead, polished teeth and squinting eyes were among the beauty ideals.

  1. “The Clothed Body”

Mayan clothing expresses origin, social status and aspects of personality.

  1. “The Animal as an Image”

Animals have a symbolic meaning in the Mayan culture and are considered mediators between humans and the gods. They are also seen as protectors of the family. In this part of the exhibition there are numerous representations of jaguars, snakes, toads, etc., all of which have their own meaning. Monkeys, for example, are regarded as the personification of the arts and dance.

  1. “The Body of the Gods”

This section contains the most magnificent sculptures of the exhibition. The very devout Maya followed the most bizarre rites in order to grace their gods and prove submission.

The Maya have a magnificecnt culture that is still alive today. In Mexico more than eight million people belong to this indigenous culture. Around 3,000 archaeological sites including impressive pyramids and temples are remnants of the more than 2,000-year-old civilization. The majority of these are still unexplored and only 16 are accessible to date. Today’s Maya maintain the roots of their cultural heritage, speak Maya as their mother tongue and use 30 different variants of their language.

There is a mysterious ambiance surrounding these indigenous people whose history is far from being fully researched. The exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin offers an insight into the ancient Mayan culture and is a source of inspiration and curiosity.

If you would like to experience the Mayan cultural heritage up close blending history with the current Maya community, then we would be happy to help you plan your very own trip to the Yucatán. In addition to the highlights of Mayan culture, the Yucatán also has breathtaking natural spectacles and charming colonial cities.

If you have been inspired by the Maya, then the following trips are perfect for you!:

Maya Yucatán – Private Tour

Hacienda Tour Deluxe – Private Tour

Hacienda Tour Mobile – Car Rental Tour

World of the Maya Mobile – Car Rental Tour

Viva Yucatán Mobile – Car Rental Tour

Yucatán Express – Tour Module

Or one of our Daytrips in Mérida and its Surroundings

For more information, please write to us at any time – we look forward to your inquiry!