Musée du quai Branly, Paris
June 21 to October 2, 2011
37, quai Branly, Paris 75007
+33 1 56 61 70 00

Considered as one of the most eminent Pre-Colombian cultures, the Maya civilisation developed in Central America. Their monumental constructions, artistic spirit, hieroglyphic writing, calendar and numbering systems are all unique discoveries which this civilisation has contributed to the history of humanity. Nearly a century of archaeological excavations in Guatemalan soil has revealed the wealth of this civilisation, thereby contributing a valuable cornerstone to the complex structure of Pre-Hispanic history.

The exhibition proposes a chronological examination in 4 sections. The first 3 correspond to the 3 main periods defined by scientists and which have marked the Maya civilisation of Guatemala: the Pre-Classic, Classic and Post-Classic periods. The exhibition moves through magnificent pottery, monuments and jewellery created from time immemorial until 1524 B.C., the year in which the first Conquistadors arrived in the ancient kingdom of K'iche, the powerful Pre-Hispanic bastion of the Altiplano of the current Republic of Guatemala.

Finally, the last section draws a portrait of contemporary Maya culture through a series of
photographs illustrating the daily life of the current Maya in Guatemala; the bright colours of their garments, the magnificence of their ceremonial costumes and practices, all provide evidence of a still-living cultural heritage.