Madrid

Madrid

Friday, January 30, 2015

Back to Oaxaca... Sort of

This afternoon I took a two mile walk from my apartment to the National Museum of Anthropology.  I have lost track of how many times I have been to that museum, but it is so large and so outstanding that I always find things of interest that I haven't noticed before. 

Jane and I were in Oaxaca earlier this month and visited several archaeological sites there, so I thought it would be appropriate for me to visit the Oaxaca Hall of the museum in Mexico City.  Usually, when I go to the Anthropology Museum, I am already getting tired by the time I get to the exhibits on the Oaxacan cultures.  This time I decided to start with Oaxaca and take a more thorough look at the objects on display.

The most impressive archaelogical site that we visited in Oaxaca was Monte Albán.  This large mural in the hall shows what the site looked like 1500 years ago when it was the mighty capital of the Zapotec tribe.

  

Showcases are filled with beautiful pieces of Zapotec ceramics and sculpture.




This sculpture combines of the Zapotec rain god and the corn goddess, showing the interconnection between the two.


There is a life-size replica of one of the tombs of Monte Albán just as it looked when archaeologists found it.



I was very interested in seeing the treasures of Zaachila while I was in the Oaxaca Hall.  Jane and I had visited the largely unexcavated site, and our driver told us that archaeologists had discovered a couple tombs there.  All of the contents of the tombs were taken to the Anthropology Museum.  The residents of Zaachila were very upset with this, and have refused to allow archaeologists to return to the site until the tomb treasures are returned to their village. 

The treasures include gold jewelry, jade masks, and pottery.





I can understand why the villagers want their treasures back, although they are probably better taken care of here at Mexico's premier museum.

7 comments:

  1. Wow! Have you ever gotten to the second floor and the textiles? I haven't and will take your cue and start there next time. I LOVE that museum.........Thanks for sharing.
    The recreation of the burial space is remarkable.

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    1. Yes, when I visited last November I just went to the second floor which deals with the indigenous peoples of today. It is a museum onto itself!

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  2. I am going to be in Mexico City on my way to Oaxaca. I've visited Mitla, Monte Alban and Zaachila so would this be a "have to see" or should I spend time in Xochimilco, Chapultepec and visit Frieda Kahlo's house? I have a day and a half and have not visited Mexico City before. Which do you think would be the best use of my time?

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    1. A day-and-a-half, LOL... You will only scratch the surface. IMHO, unless you *LOVE* museums, I'd spend time in the Centro Historico (be sure to go to the observation deck of the Torre Latinoamericana, and see the Templo Mayor), Coyoacán (since you seem to have Frieda's house on your itinerary already), and maybe stroll Alvaro Obregón and check out Condesa.

      Saludos,

      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we consider DF our second home in Mexico.

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    2. If you visit only one place in Mexico City, it should be the Anthropology Museum (closed on Mondays). Not only is it Mexico's greatest museum, but it is one of the great museums of the world (definitely one of the world's greatest archaeological museums.) But don't even try to see everything... it's too huge. Be sure to visit the Mexica (Aztec) Hall in the museum.

      With the limited time that you have, I would skip Xochimilco and Freida Kahlo's house. Both are on the far south side of the city, and it will eat up too much time just to get there and back. Furthermore, Xochimilco is only fun on a weekend, and even then it's not a "must see". Freida's house is small, doesn't contain much in the way of her art, and often has a long line waiting to get in.

      Other than the Anthropology Museum, I would spend some time in the Centro Histórico. Go inside the massive Cathedral. Walk down Madero Street to the Palace of Fine Arts, go inside to see murals by Mexico's most famous artists. If you still have time, I would recommend the Museum of Popular Arts (Museo de Artes Populares) on Independencia Street (corner of Revillagigedo). It's one block south of the Alameda and an easy walk from the Palace of Fine Arts. I just revisited it today. It's small enough so as not to be overwhelming, but contains a superb collection of handicrafts.
      Have a wonderful time!!

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  3. The Anthropological Museum of DF is the living definition of "too much of a good thing." Not only are the exhibits amazing, but the building itself is quite marvelous, as is the setting.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are getting stir-crazy from all the snow.

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    1. I have no idea how many times I've been to the Anthro Museum, but I never tire of going there. However, as I get older, "museum fatigue" sets in after a couple hours, and I don't even attempt to go through the whole thing in one visit.

      Saludos,
      Bill
      currently in D.F.
      where the sunshine and warmth are beckoning you!!!

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