Publicly on view for the first time, this “Lurking Jaguar-masked Warrior” is surely one of the most stunning and rarest discoveries of past decades associated with Guatemala’s Early Classic (ca. 250 AD- 600 AD). In fact, it is the only well preserved example known to date of a large-size, three-dimensional stucco sculpture with its original color still preserved.
Once again, the collection in the custody of La Ruta Maya Foundation was consecrated in a solemn ceremony by a group of Aj'qijab or Mayan Spiritual Guides. The first time, the objects were consecrated by the authorities of the Indigenous Municipality of Santo Tomás Chuwilá, Chichicastenango, in order to "liberate the knowledge and protection" to the Pre-Columbian objects, according to the Mayan worldview.
Is this opportunity, a ceremony was performed by another group of spiritual guides or Ajq'ijab, led by Aj'qij Carlos Moran, in order to "wake up" the Pre-Columbian objects and "revive" them to fulfill their function prior to their display in the "WORLD OF THE MAYAN ARTIST" exhibition, in Quetzaltenango. For this purpose it was required to open the gass showcases to smoke them with the sacred copal pom, the natural resin used since Pre-Columbian times to facilitate the communication between objects and people with their ancestors. Given that ancient objects "like the smell of incense" -according to the Ajq'ijab explanations- it was necessary to "revive" them prior to their presentation to the public.
With activities like this, RUTA MAYA FOUNDATION fulfills its commitment to disclose and to value the cultural heritage of the Nation, making the collection accessible to society, while respecting the ancient and modern features that each object has inherent to their nature and origin.
A painting executed in black paint on a flowstone cave fan was presented to the public by La Ruta Maya Foundation as part of the exhibition THE WORLD OF THE MAYAN ARTIST, at the "Antiguo Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús" in Antigua Guatemala.
The flowstone fan stands out for having a scene with two characters performing a period-ending ritual, as indicated by a short hieroglyphic text with the Calendar Round date 9 Ajaw 3 Muwan.
A limestone block carved with hieroglyphs -from La Ruta Maya collection- was examined by specialists in art history, archeology and epigraphy, in order to determine -at least partially- the lost history of an object that was looted years ago.
Known as the Hix Witz Panel, this block is registered with the No. 18.104.22.1685 at the Cultural Heritage Registry of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and is dated to the Late Classic period (600-900 AD). However, little was known about it, as it had been ripped from its original context, destroying any related information. Therefore, it was urgent and important to identify it. The archaeologist and Pre-Columbian art historian, Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet, and epigrapher Simon Martin, made a careful examination of its style and hieroglyphic texts and concluded that:
La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation received, from Dr. Francis Robicsek, a collection of slides of architectural remains, monuments, and views of archaeological sites in Mesoamerica, taken by him in the mid-20th century. The slide collection is in the process of analysis and organization into a comprehensive database, which will be available to researchers and the interested public.
Dr. Robicsek also donated 23 sets (each set containing 5 books) of the “Biologia Centrali-Americana; or Contributions to the Knowledge of the Fauna and Flora of Mexico and Central America” by Alfred Percival Maudslay, which were reprinted from the original plates by Milpatron Publishing Corp, New York, in 1974.
A mosaic mask of La Ruta Maya Foundation, was restored from a handful of small pieces of jade, coral and shell. The batch of mosaic pieces was registered a few years ago with the No. 22.214.171.1241 by the Cultural Heritage Registry, who put the number behind the part identified as the nose. The mosaics of jade were put in place and glued on a resin base by restaurateur Robert Stoetzer of Stoetzer Inc. The restoration was based on careful studies of the pieces and is completely reversible.
This object was part of the permanent exhibition of the Príncipe Maya Museum, which was located in the center of the city of Cobán, Alta Verapaz (Guatemala). This collection, unable to continue under the care of the previous holders, became part of the Ruta Maya Foundation to ensure safekeeping, care, access to researchers and students, and its exhibition to the general public.
The Ministry of Culture and Sports, in collaboration with La Ruta Maya Foundation, concluded the process to return three limestone blocks with inscriptions to Guatemala. The three are part of one of the Hieroglyphic Staircases from La Corona Archaeological Site and refer to dates between 662 AD and 683 A.D.
Archaeologists Marcello Canuto (Tulane University) and Tomas Barrientos (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala), who directed excavations at the archaeological site of La Corona, commented: "The recovery of these blocks is a big step for the reconstruction of the hieroglyphic staircase discovered this year, as it was completely dismantled by looters”. It also sets a precedent to recover other blocks from this and other staircases that are now in museums and private collections outside Guatemala.
Welcome to the website of La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation, the only private organization that manages and promotes the return of antiquities to Guatemala, to be legally registered as the Nation´s cultural heritage and exhibited in the country’s main museums.
Our purpose is to rescue, preserve, and allow the study of Pre-Columbian art to promote public interest and appreciation for the Maya and Mesoamerican cultures, through publications and education.