The Mayan World Is Often Experienced Through Coming into Comalcalco Museum

by Frank D. Gardner

The exhibition that showcases more than 400 Tabasco archaeological pieces, located for decades of exploration in that pre-Hispanic city was held on Comalcalco Archaeological Zone which spans about 750 square meters.

One of the 25 stingray spines with hieroglyphics recorded in the eighth century, discovered in the funerary priest Pakal Aj Than is are the objects exhibited and highlighted.

Joy' Chan Museum Open Its Doors For Public To See The Mayan World

Comalcalco Archaeological Zone located in Tabasco provides a journey to a renovated museum, which features a modern museology and an up to date review, showing a lot more than 400 archaeological pieces discovered during many years of exploration, from when they were uncovered 130 in years past by the explorer Desire Charnay, right until nowadays. The museum will open doors to people to see and discover the Mayan world.

The brand new 750 square meters area for exhibition, shows the story of the location, its natural environment, the traditions or rituals carried out there during olden days, funeral customs as well as everyday life on two floors and twice the length it had when it first open.

Located 90 kilometers from Villahermosa, Tabasco, Joy 'Chan which is the city's original name means "surrounded Heaven" in Chol Mayan language and it is found to be the largest city in the region from 550 to 900 AD.

Generally there, the general public can discover the longest Maya epigraphic text found to date in Tabasco, documented in glyphs on the small surface of a sting ray tail from the 8th century, that was part of a priestly regalia, to the current archaeological discoveries here in the western Maya, carried out by experts at the INAH or National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The Exhibition In The Museum

The building materials of the stellar's enclosure parts are high and low relief decorated bricks which emphasized the monumental buildings at Comalcalco. The modern museology incorporates 50 of these, and are part of the nearly two hundred which were discovered at the archaeological location.

The second space displays the last discoveries, and among them stands apart a sting ray stinger, Maya glyphs etched in the 8th century which produced part of the funerary devices of yajaw k'ahk ', "Lord of Fire", Aj Pakal Tahn. Together with various other symbols engraved on shell earrings, the text adds up to 260 glyphs recounting 14 years of the life of this priest; such offering was found in 1998 in the south facade of the II and IIA temples of the North Plaza on the archaeological area, together with 24 other spines having inscriptions and other ritual objects.

Such area likewise reveals the research progress concerning the burial systems created in Comalcalco, sorting them depending on social rank of the person ensconced; it seems like, those who are in power were buried in massive clay pots, along with rich offerings. With an actual burial, examples of these urns can be seen at the exhibition.

The Tour Offered By The Museum

The city subject between the water and forest commences the tour of the Comalcalco Site Museum, explaining the flora and fauna representatives and geographical environment of Tabasco. Within this section, one can appreciate different decorated bricks having the image of a lizard as well as various other animals.

The tour goes on with the Mayas from The Classic at Joy 'Chan, which goes into the cultural development of the traditional population of Comalcalco, through subthemes because the Mayan language, clothes and physical alterations as component of their ritual practices as well as aesthetics, these features are featured in figures as well as bricks imprinted with human characters.

In The Kingdom of Joy 'Chan, the city's development as well as its connection with other Meso-American settlements is explained, at the same time information on its glyph emblem, represented on various pieces is highlighted.

The internal organization of the former Comalco, the dynastic sequence of the site and the strata represented in a social pyramid were stated by the great lords and the people.; in this component, figurines, bricks and plaster statues where the general public can value social roles that had women and men are displayed.

Being at Joy' Chan for one day, one can see the aspects of everyday life through activities like trade, agriculture, pottery; tools used for housework, female figurines highlighted to showcase the appearance and clothing of women from the old city are among the pieces shown.

The site architecture, materials, construction systems and hydraulics are the focus of the City Water Lords theme which also highlights the utilization of decorated bricks, key pieces in the construction of the main pre-Hispanic buildings.

The various aspects of the rites in the Joy' Chan village ranging from the religious to domestic ones and the sanctification of spaces are shown by the public ceremonies and domestic rituals; in The Divine Home subtheme refers to the temples centered on the site gods, where bricks engraved with characters undertaking ritual acts, like the ingestion of hallucinogenic plants plus dance performances can be seen.

The mortuary customs are examined in the eighth theme of the museum, Funeral, which talks about the numerous burial systems; shows off the priest Aj Than Pakal whose remains were located together with a lush offering, consisting by 30 sting ray stingers (25 that have inscriptions), 90 conch shell earrings -34 of them carved with glyphs, 7 anthropomorphic as well as amorphous pendants, fragments of pyrite, shark teeth, beads as well as obsidian knives among other things, all covered with red pigment or cinnabar.

In the Comalcalco Twilight, it's stated that the abandonment of the area transpired bit by bit, until eventually it became ruins in 700 years, likewise details the origins of its current name, which in the Nahuatl language translates as "Place of the house of the griddle" granted in the sixteenth century, from the disputes between the indigenous populace, that came about as the colony just commenced. It's deemed that the name happens given that the bricks which the city is constructed have a resemblance to griddles.

The End Of The Tour

You can see a retrospective of the on-site archaeological work mounted at the near end of the tour, in the section entitled the Discovery of Comalcalco, an event which was recorded in 1880 by a French explorer, Desire Charnay. The site comprises of lithographs generated by him, the overview deals also with the research carried out by INAH professionals in the Scientific Projects section where, through photographs, the 1st specialized research of the settlement and the discovery of very important parts are seen.

The Yoko Winikoob of today ends the tour, the module attests to the perseverance of the culture of the Tabasco Maya via rituals, dances, beliefs as well as cults manifested in ethnographic objects in the living communities.

Essentially, the Comalcalco Museum Site was created with an architectural design in accordance with the ideas of the Tabasco poet Carlos Pellicer, and also the museum script from the archaeologist Amalia Cardos; it was in 1984 that the site was opened to the public.

The site is within the Archaeological Site of Comalcalco, just 2 kilometers from the city of Comalcalco, Tabasco, on Federal Highway 187. Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 hours. Cost: 46 pesos. To teachers, students, children under 13, pensioners, retirees, teachers and students with valid ID, the admission is free. Free admission on Sunday to the national public and foreign residents.

A travel to Mexico affords travelers to learn the Mayan culture and experience what it feels like being in the ancient Mayan world.

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