University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

"Other Americans: Ancient Life in Modern Guatemala" (1940)


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Time: 00:34:11  

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Film Description:Small household pets including the miniature deer called huitzitzl (Maya) and a small lion called tigre although there is no lion native to the Americas. Next to a Maya ceremonial center at Chama in the Guatemalan highlands. The mounds you see were four sided platforms with temples on them. Women wear the distinctive costumes of the area, a full gathered indigo skirt and a fine woven white blouse.
Next we see workmen crossing the Tsalbha river to dig at the site of Chicun. The rivers are very swift and treacherous especially during the rainy season. Now we get a view of the early Chicun cemetery with its stone box graves at the edge of the largest mound. The deep burial in front of the mound has fine painted pottery.
The remainder of the film is in color. There is a woman making ceramics using ancient methods, a boy making a basket.
After a segment on weaving, we see the Good Friday processional in the Indian village of Nebaj. Judas in effigy hangs over the church door and the bell in the right hand tower has been replaced by the matraca, a wood disk turned by hand with wood clappers on it that give it a mournful sound. Two days later on the "Saturday of Glory" the matraca is replaced again by the bell and Judas is taken down, sat at the table for a last cigarette and taken off to be burnt.
Following this another Good Friday procession is contrasted which takes place in Antiqua, a majority Mestizo city. A final procession is shown in San Pedro Sacatepequez, another Indian village, and a procession showing the saints being taken for their weekly Lent promenade.
Video Category:Produced Film
Film Creator:Mary Butler
Topics:Maya archaeology; Huitzitzl (Maya deer);
Rights:All rights are reserved by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum). Any use of the footage in productions is forbidden unless rights have been secured by contacting the Penn Museum Archives at 215-898-8304, or email photos@pennmuseum.org.

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