Fiery Pool

Anne and I drove to the Park to view the special exhibit, now showing at the art museum, Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea. Photography was not allowed within this exhibit due to “copyright” issues. I should have questioned this explanation, all of the 90 works displayed were between 500 and 2000 years old and I’m pretty sure not even Disney will be able to maintain their copyrights that long, Shakespeare hasn’t. Anyway, here is the SLAMmer’s blurb:

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea brings together over 90 works, many never before seen in the United States, to offer exciting insights into the culture of the ancient Maya. Surrounded by the sea and dependent on the life-giving power of rain and clouds, the ancient Maya created fantastic objects imbued with the symbolic power of water. This exhibition presents four thematic sections—Water and Cosmos, Creatures of the Fiery Pool, Navigating the Cosmos, and Birth to Rebirth—that explore the different ways Maya artists represented water, from setting religious narratives in watery domains to using shells and other exotic materials acquired through coastal trade networks

There was no mention of 2012 or even Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, in the exhibit. The Mayan connection with water was constantly reinforced. I was not aware that the Mayan pictograph language has only begun to be deciphered in the last thirty years. There was little mention of human sacrifice in the exhibit. Was this omission, or am I confusing the Mayans with their more bloodthirsty neighbors or just Mel Gibson’s viewpoint? Anne and I both used the iPod tour. I pretty much just stuck with the tour, while Anne made sure to read every card. Needless to say, I was done well before her. I spent the rest of my time, photographing portions of the SLAMmer’s private collection. Dedicated to Art and Free to All is still inscribed upon the lintel above the main entrance. Pictured below is a ballgame vessel, part of the permanent collection.

This vessel depicts an ancient Mayan ballgame with a sense of dynamic spectacle. Like the ballgame itself, the story is not seen all at once, but unfolds in sections as the viewer moves around the vessel. The ballgame seems very close to our own team sports, with players wearing the insignia of animal mascots and spectators avidly watching and gossiping in the stands.

Leaving the museum, late afternoon, a spring snowstorm was in full force. We drove to REI in an attempt to spend our dividend, but the line was too long. We shopped Whole Foods and then went out to dinner. We tried the Maya Café, but it was too early and it hadn’t opened yet. We went around the corner to Las Palmas, a Mexican restaurant. There was a Mexican soccer game on, broadcasted from San Diego. It was interesting hearing all the familiar commercials being broadcasted in Spanish. Barack Obama had a political commercial that aired. 2012 is supposed to be a big year in the Mayan calendar; it is an election year here. Recent census data counts a sixth of all Americans as Hispanic. 2012 could be a seismically active political year.

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