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Victoria, Canada- “The Great Jaguar Rises”, a remarkable exhibition highlighting Maya civilization past and present, makes its global debut at the Royal BC Museum, the first venue in the world to host this exhibition from May 17 to Dec. 31, 2019. Following venues will be the Cincinnati Museum Center (from March 13–Sept 7, 2020) and the Royal Alberta Museum from Oct 3, 2020-April 18, 2021.

The exhibition boasts the world’s largest and most impressive display of Maya art & archaeology —many recently discovered and never before seen outside of Guatemala—and features more than 300 precious jade, ceramic, gold, stone and textile artifacts reflecting classic and contemporary Maya culture. 

“Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises” is a joint venture between MuseumsPartner and the Royal BC Museum, with the support of the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports, Destination Greater Victoria as the Lead Marketing Partner, and Paladin Security as a Community Partner. It was curated by Dr. Nikolai Grube and designed by Angel Rocamora Arquitectura and it coincides with UNESCO’s Year of Indigenous Languages, highlighting the 30 Maya languages that are still spoken today by almost half the population of Guatemala. This element complements the museum’s permanent “Our Living Languages” exhibition, which highlights the revitalization of Indigenous languages in Bristish Columbia.

The principal lenders are the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Guatemala (MUNAE) and La Ruta Maya Foundation. The national museum of Guatemala is dedicated to the conservation and research of archaeological and ethnological artifacts within Guatemala’s history and cultural heritage. La Ruta Maya is a private organization that seeks to recover and repatriate objects -illegaly traded in the past- and register them as Cultural Herittage of the Nation, making them available to research and exhibition for educational purposes.

Notable artifacts include the recently excavated La Corona steps and Altar 5; the Nebaj jade plaque and the jade Hunal; two jade mosaic maskettes; hieroglyphic monuments; a cave formation (stalactite) with painting; a large polichrome stucco sculpture in the shape of a jaguar-man and other objects made of gold, ceramics, shell, obsidian and flint.

The show includes a number of interactive stations to engage all ages, such as:

  • The Maya Birthday Machine
  • Make a Mayan sentence (using glyphs)
  • Dress a Maya King, using magnets
  • Two narrated films: A Day in Uxul and The Gift of the Maize God
  • Games: true-false test-your-knowledge about Classic Maya people; and help Ixchel make drinking chocolate
  • Please Touch: 13 hands-on 3D printed replicas of artifacts on display in the exhibition. The replicas are displayed at an accessible level with braille text interpretation for each object

Visit details:

The Royal BC Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm with extended summer hours 10 am to 10 pm Fridays and Saturdays (starting May 17 through October 5).

Admission: $26.95 adults; $18.95 seniors/students; $16.95 youth; free with membershipTo purchase tickets, visit: Stay updated on exhibition news with the Royal BC Museum blog, or via social media: #RBCMMaya

You can follow the events  on social media:

Twitter: @RoyalBCMuseum 
Instagram: royalbcmuseum 
Facebook: RoyalBCMuseum 

Photo gallery by Angel Rocamora, Siegfried Brugger and Sofia Paredes Maury