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Monday, October 10, 2016

Mayan History & Culture - Part 2

Francisco de Montejo y León, "el Mozo" (the younger), founded the city of Mérida, Mexico when in 1542 he led the conquest of the Yucatán and built his house there.  We toured the house (Museo Casa Montejo) which was built using the stones of the Mayan pyramids that were destroyed. . . .


Generations of his family lived in this house until the 1980s.  This is the dining room. . . .
.....and its ceiling. . . .

Up stairs the rooms were not furnished, but this door was a piece of art in itself. . . .


Opened you could look out over the Grand Plaza to the north.  This is where the Sunday market is held and so many of the other events I've talked about. . . .

Our guide was a friend of our daughter-in-law's so we were taken to a room where children were working on crafts so we could see this mural of what the house and surrounding area would have looked like in the 1500s. . . .


Every night Mérida holds some cultural event in the Centro area.  Wednesday night is "video mapping" on the facade of the house.  The carvings are highlighted. . . .
To the left was a translation in English of what was being said while images are projected showing enlargements of the carved figures as they are explained. . . .
At the end Montejo himself comes out onto the balcony and speaks with the Mayan leader.  They debate each other's way of life--each believing they were better off without the other--but in the end it is acknowledged that both are the foundation of today's Yucatan. . . .

At the end the folkloric dancers performed several dances. . . .

                   

Another evening we watched the video mapping on the Catedral San Ildefonso.  This cathedral faces the Grand Plaza on the east side.  Its construction started in 1561 and, like the Montejo house, stones from the pyramids were used.  It is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. . . .

We did not stay for the entire program because unlike the other video mapping, this one was not translated.  For a look inside go to this blog.  She also talks about the cathedral that I could see from my hotel room.

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We took a short cab ride to the Museo Regional de Yucatán.  It is housed in Palacio Cantón, the early 20th century home of General Cantón (a governor of the Yucatán) and his family until 1932. . . . 

Currently their exhibits consisted of masks and carvings.  Masks are still used for rituals and festivals in the Mayan culture.  Some are quite devilish-looking.  I'm only showing the tamer ones. . . .

This one is rather charming. . . .

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We walked a few blocks to the Museo de Arte Popular aka folk art.  This was my favorite because of the beautiful handcrafted art. . . .


The piece on the left is called The Tree of Life.  The skeletons are iconic Day of the Dead art. . . .

Another Tree of Life sculpture. . . .



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Several of the nightly events in Centro Mérida were the folk dances of the Yucatán. . . .

                     
These folk dances are taught to the children in school.  Here is our daughter-in-law when she was a child in the 1990s. . . .



.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

8 comments:

  1. Such a lovely post with so much to enjoy. The dining room ceiling was a delight and the tree of life sculpture a real feast for the eyes, delightful.

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    1. I loved the intricacies of their clay tree of life sculptures, too.

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  2. My favorite was the clay tree of life! Thank you for the historical tour!

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  3. Let's make it unanimous [so far at least]. I LOVED that tree of life sculpture with the jillions of pieces and colors too. Just beautiful! You certainly got a cultural education on your trip, Cathy - wow. Merida, which I'm guessing is not a really large city [???] has a lot of museums and cultural activities to offer. I don't think you could have posted your whole trip in a single entry, and that's pretty impressive for a city that I'd never heard of. Although I'm really only familiar with Mexico's "resort" towns - Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta etc - and of course Mexico City - maybe that's not saying too much. I bet there are a lot of Merida attractions you had to pass up on this trip. And others that you'd like to "do" again, being able to take more time on the "second pass." And maybe the next time you visit you might be able to take Alejandro's cousins too. What a great opportunity for Olivia at least. Depending on when you get to go again, August might be a little young, but then again, maybe not?? I remember something I read in a biography of Jackie Kennedy, something she said along the lines of "it's never hurts to introduce children to subjects which might be a little over their heads..." That eventually it will "click" for them, and often when you least expect it. I love that they teach folk dancing in the schools - now there's something you don't see any many US curriculums at all - DANCING. That probably says something about our culture too, doesn't it? I liked those "Day of the Dead' pieces too - the skeletons have a lot of "personality" I think - LOL. I remember a Mexican student who worked in my office, telling us about Mexico's celebration of this day - the day after Halloween I think? All about the skeletons - and how many families even picnic in cemeteries on that day! A perfect normal and acceptable thing in Mexican culture. And yet something that MIGHT rate a call to the police in the US? It never fails to amaze me how different ideas can be - how different people can be. Considering that we all have basically the same "physical equipment" to start with, that is - LOL. Oh well, it's a perfectly sparkling Fall day here, right now at least, and I'm getting set for one of my country drives. Not a whole lot of color here yet but things are definitely ramping up. Some particular shrub we have a LOT of here is going brilliant yellow right now, all along the Lake. No idea what it is, but very bright and pretty. Here's to more gorgeous Fall color - there's nothing like it! 🍁

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    1. Merida is around 800,000 people, Janet! It is spreading beyond the "beltway" that encircles it. Once you get to the beltway you might as well be in Miami. You see American stores (Office Depot, Walmart to name a couple). Only our Dogwood trees have started changing down this way.

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  4. Thanks for another informative tour, Cathy!

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