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LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90036
LACMA | Bing Theater
Free and open to the public
2014, 96 minutes. Directed by David Lebrun
Over the last century, exquisitely painted ancient Maya ceramics—almost all illicitly looted from royal tombs—have made their way into public and private collections across the globe. These amazing works of art open an extraordinary window on the Maya past. However, the zeal to collect these objects has resulted in the destruction of archaeological evidence that could tell us as much or more about the ancient Maya world. Out of the Maya Tombs (formerly titled Dance of the Maize God) explores the royal life and rich mythology of the Maya, as well as the tangled issues involved in the collection and study of ancient Maya art. The story is told by villagers, looters, archaeologists, scholars, dealers, and curators. For each, these works have a different value and meaning.
«Out of the Maya Tombs» includes 23 exquisite figurines portraying an ancient Maya resurrection ritual, excavated from a royal tomb at the Classic-period Maya city of El Perú-Waka’, Petén, Guatemala. These figurines are featured in LACMA’s exhibition Ancient Bodies: Archaeological Perspectives on Mesoamerican Figurines, which emphasizes the importance of archaeological excavation for our understanding of ancient art.
Join us for a free screening of Out of the Maya Tombs, followed by a panel discussion with director David Lebrun, LACMA Associate Curator Megan O’Neil, and LACMA Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Michelle Rich—who excavated the El Perú-Waka’ figurines, curated Ancient Bodies, and appears in the film. Eduardo Sanchez, LACMA’s Education Content Specialist of Ancient American and Latin American Art, will moderate.