Penn Museum's unique collection of brilliantly painted Chama polychromes opens a window into the lives of the ordinary Maya of 1,300 years ago, and the way they dealt with the challenge of forced change. More than 150 objects convey vibrant evidence of ancient Maya life, as revealed by amazing archaeological discovery and scientific analysis.

Around 700 CE Chamá and the other towns and villages along Guatemala’s Chixoy River were hubs of activity, crossroads of trade and pilgrimage, channeling the movement of people and ideas at the height of Maya civilization. This is the story of the ancient Maya as lived by these villagers and the rediscovery of their history by archaeologists today.

Penn Museum’s unique collection of brilliantly painted Chamá Polychromes opens a window into the lives of the ordinary Maya of 1300 years ago, and the way they dealt with the challenge of forced change. More than 150 objects--figurines, jades, musical instruments, ritual objects, weaving implements, cooking pots and projectile points--convey vibrant evidence of ancient Maya life, as revealed by archaeological discovery and scientific analysis.

Painted Metaphors: Pottery and Politics of the Ancient Maya ran in our Dietrich gallery from05 April 2009 through 31 January 2010.

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