Forces of Nature

A 300–600 CE sculpture from Maya depicting a person inside a monstrous costumer. The head is positioned in the mouth of the being

Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Art
from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

August 27, 2023
January 7, 2024

About the Exhibition

For the ancient Maya, the natural world was both a source of nourishment and danger. From the sun to wildlife to maize crops, forces of nature manifested supernatural beings that were inseparable from their lives. This exhibition explores the rich world of the supernatural in ancient Maya art, through 200 works from LACMA’s notable collection — including ceramic vessels and figurines, and greenstone jewelry from present-day Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. These ancient artworks showcase how artists portrayed the supernatural world and how royalty acquired and displayed their own supernatural power.

The Blanton presentation is organized by Rosario I. Granados, Marilynn Thoma Curator, Art of the Spanish Americas


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Image Gallery

Figurine Whistle of a Woman with a Backstrap Loom, Mexico, Campeche, Jaina Island or vicinity,Maya, 650-850, ceramic with post-fire pigment, 7 1/4 x 3 5/8 x 5 5/8 in. (18.42 x 9.21 x 14.29 cm), Los AngelesCounty Museum of Art, Anonymous gift (M.2010.115.16) photo © Museum Associates / LACMA
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Forces of Nature: Ancient Maya Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is organized
by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Support for this exhibition at the Blanton is provided in part by Bettye Nowlin.

Feature Image Credit

Teotihuacan-Style Censer with Ancestor and Storm God, 300-600, Maya, ceramic with post-fire pigment, 11 × 9 × 9 3/8 in. (27.9 × 22.9 × 23.6 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Camilla Chandler Frost (M.2010.115.1019a-b) photo © Museum Associates / LACMA

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