Mask of Calakmul returns home to Campeche
The mask of Calakmul, a funerary piece elaborated in mosaic of jade, shell and gray obsidian, returned to Campeche, after 10 years of touring foreign countries including Germany, the United States, Italy and France.
“It is the mask that has given Campeche a presence in the world, has been our ambassador and since 2004, made a series of visits in traveling exhibitions to other museums,” said Claudia Escalante Diaz, director of INAH Museums in Campeche.
Considered to be a masterpiece of Maya art and known as the Campeche Ambassador to the world, the piece is exhibited at the Mayan Architecture Museum located in the Baluarte de la Soledad, along with other funeral gear.
“It is part of the Kaan dynasty of the powerful Calakmul, the rulers of the megalopolis of Calakmul, the Kaan Dynasty. It is the ambassador par excellence, because it is the most recognized piece of the Cultural Heritage of Campeche,” said Díaz.
The mask complements the funerary furnishings of a ruler of the Kaan dynasty, who belonged to Tomb 1 of Structure VII of the Archaeological Zone of Calakmul, found in the early 1980s by archaeologist William Folan.
“I came from the center of the Republic to know part of what our culture is so far from us and realize our origins, because it does fill us with much satisfaction,” said Fernando Flores, a museum visitor.
The work consists of 57 tiles of jade, two beads of obsidian and a shell. It represents the face of a ruler, whose nose and lips are made in one piece, the eyes simulate two pupils of gray obsidian on two circles of nacre shell and the eyebrows are of pyrite.
“It is an extraordinary piece, with immense heritage value and also with a very important artistic value,” said Díaz.
For the Mayans, jade was an essential component of the funerary masks of their sovereigns, it was a stone associated with water and related to the sky and sea, primordial of creation and symbol of vital breath, fertility and rebirth.