History comes to life with Tales of the Maya Skies and Las Artes de México

Clark Planetarium and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts have partnered to present you with the complete Mayan cultural experience at an amazing discount.  Visit Clark Planetarium’s facebook page for a buy one get one free coupon to both Tales of the Maya Skies at Clark Planetarium and Las Artes de México at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

maya_skies_thumbTales of the Maya Skies, produced by Chabot Space and Science Center, uses full dome digital technology to transports us back into the world of the Maya.   Journey into the jungles of México to Chich’en Itzá where you will discover Maya built cities and temples.  These ancient monuments were built and aligned with the movements of our solar system.  Mayans used their knowledge of our universe, the development of mathematical zero and sophisticated mathematical equations to develop a precise calendar system and predict future events with incredible accuracy.  The Mayans observed and predicted solstices, solar eclipses, weather patterns and planetary movements.    

Tales of the Maya Skies also shares the mythological story of the Hero Twins.  The story begins with the twin’s father, Hun Hunahpu and his brother Vucub Hunahpu.  Hun Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu were playing ball near Xibalba (the Mayan underworld).  The lords of Xibalba became angry with the noise and disturbance the boys were making.  The lords of Xibabla sent owls to lure the boys to the ball court in Xibalba.  The brothers were captured and sacrificed by the lords and buried in the ball court.  Legend states that when a passing goddess came upon the burial site Hun Hunahpu’s head split in two and the goddess conceived and gave birth to the hero twins, Hunahpu and Xbalaque

TWN_ballgame_Jungle_500The twins eventually found their fathers ballgame equipment and started playing, which again, annoyed the lords of Xibalba.  The lords invited the twins to Xibalba hoping to cast them to the same fate as their father.  Through many trials and dangers, the twins eventually defeated the lords of Xibalba.  The twins left Xibalba and climbed back to the surface of Earth.  They continued climbing straight up into the sky where one brother became the Sun and the other became the Moon. 

The ballgame was a religious ceremony in Mayan culture that was symbolic of warfare and often times included human sacrifice.  It was also symbolic of fertility and was played to ensure a good harvest.  North indicated the heavens and south the underworld.  Ball courts were often positioned as a symbolic bridge between the two worlds.maya 006

The importance of the ball court and the hero twins can be seen in many pieces of art being displayed in the Las Artes de México exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  These artifacts provide an in-depth look about the religion, art, architecture, and general culture of the Mesoamerican civilizations.  The Las Artes de México gallery explores the power of the jaguar, the importance of divine effigies, and the significance of the deathly Olmec ballgame.  The Mesoamerican civilizations excelled in many different fields, and testaments of their achievements are found throughout the gallery.  Tour a broad array of artifacts including woven pieces, masks and religious objects.  Las Artes de México examines over three millennia of tradition and change across the broad spectrum of Mexican art and culture.  The exhibition is part of a three year national tour developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services.

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