Vessel with Political Scene, Guatemala, Petén region, Maya culture, 600–900, earthenware and pigment, purchased with funds from Friends of the Art Museum, UMFA1984.002.

The Ancient Mesoamerican gallery celebrates the diverse arts and traditions of peoples who lived in what is now Mexico and central America. Among the cultures represented are the Maya, Olmec, Zapotec, and shaft tomb culture of western Mexico in present-day Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit. These societies existed from the 1200s BCE to 1300 CE. 

Objects currently on display include a large Maya jade ornament dating from the 700s to 900s. It depicts the Maya Jester god who was associated with elite power. Drilled holes allowed the piece to be attached to a headdress. Also on view are hollow figures that accompanied burials in the shaft tomb culture of western Mexico (300 BCE–300 CE). A Nayarit standing woman holding a cup and jar may reflect feasting traditions, while a Colima sitting figure armed with a club may have served as a guardian figure.

In the 1970s and 1980s, museum director E. Frank Sanguinetti built this collection working primarily with dealer W. Douglas Hague. Following that, key gifts have augmented the Ancient Mesoamerican collection. Research is ongoing into the collecting history of objects before they entered the Museum. Any future loan, gift, or purchase to this collection must meet the 2013 AAMD guidelines on the acquisition of archaeological objects.

Transformatión Cultural: Nuestro pasado es presente

Work in Progress

Exciting changes are happening with this collection!

UMFA is thrilled to collaborate with Artes de México en Utah and a dedicated group of community creatives to re-envision an exhibition of art from México and Central America that reflects the richness of living cultures, identity, and art, past and present.

Goals for re-envisioning UMFA’s Mexican and Mesoamerican art:

  • Elevate and infuse community perspectives and voices into UMFA’s exhibition space.  
  • Highlight and discuss objects in the present, not past, tense.
  • Create an installation that celebrates the living, vibrant cultures from which these works of art originate. 
  • Acquire contemporary artworks by artists who identify as Latine / Hispanic and support narratives of art and culture, past and present, as a continuum. 

Community work-group members:
Pablo Ayala, Hazel Rodriguez Coppolam, Monique Davila, Kathleen Garcia, Stephanie García, Luis Novoa, Jorge Rodriguez, Laura Ruiz, Horacio Rodriguez, Esmeralda Torres, Karina Villalba

UMFA’s staff is grateful to Fanny Guadalupe Blauer, Executive Director of Artes de México en Utah, her colleague, Andrea Silva, and many community voices for their passion, support, and trust throughout this process. 

Trabajo en curso

¡Esta colección está experimentando cambios muy interesantes!

El UMFA está encantado de colaborar con Artes de México en Utah y un dedicado grupo de creativos de la comunidad para reformular la exposición de arte de México y América Central para que refleje la riqueza de las culturas vivas, la identidad y el arte, pasado y presente.

Objetivos para replantear el arte mexicano y mesoamericano del UMFA:

  • Elevar e infundir las perspectivas y voces de la comunidad en el espacio expositivo del UMFA.  
  • Destacar y discutir los objetos en tiempo presente, no pasado.
  • Crear una instalación que celebre las culturas vivas y vibrantes de las que proceden estas obras de arte. 
  • Adquirir obras de arte contemporáneo de artistas que se identifiquen como latinos / hispanos y apoyar las narrativas de arte y cultura, pasadas y presentes, como algo continuo. 

Miembros del grupo de trabajo comunitario: Pablo Ayala, Hazel Rodríguez Coppola, Monique Davila, Kathleen García, Stephanie García, Luis Novoa, Jorge Rodríguez, Laura Ruiz, Horacio Rodríguez, Esmeralda Torres, Karina Villalba.

El personal de UMFA agradece a Fanny Guadalupe Blauer, directora ejecutiva de Artes de México en Utah, a su colega, Andrea Silva, y a muchas voces de la comunidad por su pasión, apoyo y confianza a lo largo de este proceso. 

Artes de Mexico en Utah

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