Reconstruction of Historical Maya Murals Exhibited at Yale

Recently completed reproductions of the ancient Maya murals of Bonampak will be exhibited to the public at Yale’s Saybrook College, 242 Elm Street, on Friday, January 11, 1-5 p.m.

Discovered by archaeologists in 1946, the 1,200-year-old wall paintings depict the battles and ceremonial rites of a long lost Maya city. The ancient city where they were found, deep in the rain forest of Mexico, was given the name “Bonampak,” which literally means “painted wall,” in recognition of its most significant treasures.

“The Bonampak murals are the single most important artifact-and source of information-of ancient Mesoamerica,” says Mary Miller, who is the Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art at Yale and a leading authority on Maya art and archaeology.

Under Miller’s direction, artists Heather Hurst and Leonard Ashby faithfully reconstructed the murals at half their original size. It took two years to complete the works, which measure 29’ x 8’. Exact replication of the colors, intricate designs and hieroglyphics of the paintings was imperative; even the timeworn chips and flaws of the originals are included in the facsimile.

Miller, who is also master of Saybrook College, will be on hand on January 11 at 1 p.m. to explain the ancient paintings and the modern reconstruction.

To visit the murals, enter the Saybrook College gate closer to High Street. Then proceed to Entry H. Take the stairs DOWN immediately to your left, walk through the game room, to the “multipurpose” room, where the paintings are displayed.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345