Archive for the ‘Mexican Museums’ Category

27 Apr 2003: Mexico City

Today, I am visiting the museums in Mexico City. Mexico’s rich history dated as far back as pre-Columbian civilisations of the Teotihuacan and the Aztec. In 1521, Spain conquered and colonized the territory for nearly 300 years. After a prolonged period of power struggle, she finally gained independence in 1821. Following the independence, she went through a period characterized by economic instability, territorial secession, civil war and two long domestic dictatorships. The latter led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and eventual emergence of the country’s current political system.   

National Anthropology and History Museum   

My first stop is the National Anthropology and History Museum, one of the most important museums in the world. At the entrance stood Tláloc, the Aztec’s Rain God. While this deity of rain, fertility and water is the beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, he was also feared for his ability to hail lightning and thunder. The museum is designed with a great dome from which water falls in homage to Tláloc.    



With the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian art, it has 24 exhibition rooms, each one dedicated to one of the cultures that flourished in Mexican territory 3000 thousand years ago: the Olmec Room, the Teotihuacan Room and the Mayan Room. This is an outstanding museum displaying unique pieces of pre-Hispanic art. Here are some of my favourite artifacts…   

Aztec Calendar Stone (Mexica Room)   


Jaguar Shape Cuauhxicalli (Mexica Room). Hearts of sacrificial victims were placed in the hollowed-out cavity in its back. The jaguar symbolized bravery and a military order of warriors was thus associated with it. This culture believed that the blood of sacrificial victims was required to nourish the sum and keep it in motion.   


Atlantes Warriers From Tula, commonly called by some people as “Ancient Astronauts” (Toltec Room).  The warrior is in a battle gear, holding a dart launcher with darts in his left hand, bears a curved sword, and holds bags of copal, a kind of incense. On his chest he wears the stylized butterfly emblem of the Toltec.   



Huehueteotl, the God of Fire (Teotihuacán Room)   

Urn of the goddess 13 Serpent (Oaxaca Room). The goddess with the calendar name, 13 Serpent, is identified by the name appearing on the short pointed cape formed by the glyph for serpent and the number 13, represented by two bars (each with value of five) and three dots.   


Ancient Masks   



A Unique Evangelical Cross   


Ancient mural   


Befriended with 2 young ladies from Canada – Stacy & Danielle, who helped to take some photographs for me.   


National Art Museum   

Except for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, I am unfamiliar with Mexican art scene. Therefore, I was more than eager to visit the National Art Museum of Mexico City. Formerly known as the Communications Palace, this museum is home to a rich collection of Mexican art from the 16th to the 20th Centuries. In front of the museum is the bronze statue of Charles IV (aka El Caballito), casted byManuel Tolsá in 1802 in honour of Charles IV.   


This museum is filled with beautiful sculptures and great paintings by artists of my ignorance…








Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art)   

Located in Chapultepec Park, the Museum of Modern Art is a nice and quiet place to appreciate the supreme masterpieces by contemporary artists, such as Frida Kahlo, Diego and Rufino Tamayo.  I was very fortunate to see the large double self portrait by Frida Kahlo. “Las Dos Fridas” was painted around the time of her divorce with the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. The traditional Frida is on the left, dressed in a traditional green dress. She is hurt and exposed with a cut and torn heart. She tries to use a surgical pincers to try to stem the flow of blood from the main artery but it continues to drip down onto her white dress, forming an expanding crimson pool. On the right is the stronger, independent and modern Frida, holding hands with the weaker Frida.


It was a quiet Sunday and the museum was surprising uncrowded. I could appreciate the art piece peacefully and slowly…    



Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum  

This was another modern art museum which I planned to see. However, it was closed for the day when I reached the Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum. Opened in 1981, it was intended to be a repository for the collection which Rufino Tamayo and his wife Olga acquired during their lifetimes and ultimately gifted to the nation.    


On the way back to the hotel, I passed by a photo exhibition by the street. Holding up my camera, I snapped this favourite picture… Feeling satisfied with this art-filled Sunday.



Read Full Post »