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Dialogue on Ritual Human Sacrifice

Two exhibitions in the Maya Museum in Cancún aim to overcome the stereotypes of the ritual human sacrifice
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Taking as a starting point the archeological pieces of ceramics, jade, obsidian, and bone, Quintana Roo will establish a dialogue between the holy symbols of the Mayan and Mexica cultures in the exhibitions: Una Ofrenda para Xochipilli. Entre luces canta y llega el sol (An Offering to Xochipilli. Between Lights Sings and Arrives the Sun) and Sangre para los dioses. El Sacrificio en la visión de los mayas y mexicas (Blood for the Gods. Human Sacrifice in the view of the Maya and Mexica people).

The National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) released a statement saying that both exhibitions are the result of the collaboration between the Templo Mayor Museum (Museum of the Great Temple) and the Maya Museum in Cancún, where the exhibitions will be displayed until November 26.

During the opening ceremony, the general director of the INAH, Diego Prieto Hernández, said the exhibitions will contribute to overcoming the stereotypes which for centuries have wrongfully been imposed on the Mesoamerican cultures by the Western view on the ritual human sacrifice.

“In Rome, they had this practice, which was a measure to exalt the powers of the Caesars through the sacrifice of up to five thousand people and ten thousand animals within a week of the Roman Circus. Contrary to this, Mesoamerican peoples saw human sacrifice as a way to praise or appease the gods, through which the continuity between the world and the universe was made possible,” said the general director of the INAH.

The exhibition Blood for the Gods gathers 80 pieces between masks, collars, sacrificial stones, daggers, human skulls, and Burial 18 of the Archeological Area of San Miguelito.

This exhibition is divided in seven thematic modules, and the outline was developed by Adriana Velázquez Morlet, supervisor of the office of the Maya Museum in Cancún, together with Ximena Arellano Núñez and the researches Enrique Terrones González, Antonio Reyes Solís and Allan Ortega Muñóz.

On the other hand, An Offering to Xochipilli is comprised of 83 objects found in Offering 78, discovered by researchers of the Templo Mayor Project in 1978. The showcase was restored by the archeologists Patricia Ledesma Bouchan and Judith Alva Sánchez.

This offering is just one out of the 170 which has been found in the Templo Mayor. Ledesma Bouchan said its relevance falls on the miniature replicas of musical instruments, as well as the three sacrificial knives which measure one meter in height, approximately.

An Offering for Xochipilli is divided into four thematic sections: the offering within the Mesoamerican context, the solar battle, Tthe cult to the god Xochipilli-Macuilxóchitl, and the protection of the tangible and intangible of cultural heritage.

This will be the first time the archeological objects of the Mexica culture are showcased at the Maya Museum in Cancún


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