Photo: Mayan exhibit (INAH)
A new Mayan exhibit at the Mexican capital’s National Museum of Anthropology shows the influence of time on the rituals and daily life of that pre-Columbian civilization.
“We’re used to seeing time from our own perspective, in a linear way, with a beginning and an end, but for Mesoamerican cultures, on the contrary, time is a cyclic reality,” Alfonso de Maria y Campos, director of the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, told Efe during Friday’s inauguration.
Nearly 100 objects of ceramic, metal, shell and stone on loan from the Yucutan Regional Museum, or “Canton Palace,” illustrate the advanced understanding of astronomy, mathematics and writing achieved by that civilization, at its height between the years 300 A.D. and 1,000 A.D.
The exhibit, organized by INAH, explains some of the calendar systems they used, including the Tzolk’in of 260 days, the Haab’o civil calendar of 365 days, and the so-called “long-count” (Tziikhaab) that covers a span of 5,125 years.
The latter system, whose current stage began on Aug. 11 of the year 3114 B.C. and will end on Dec. 21, 2012 with the beginning of a new era, gave rise to the idea that the Mayas prophesied the end of the world, a notion repeatedly denied by indigenous and scientific authorities.
“This is an academic exhibition that shows that the end of the world will not be on Dec. 21, but that it is a very important date on the Mayas’ long-count calendar,” the academic said.