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Columbia University Seminar AOA Lecture – Oswaldo Chinchilla (Yale)

March 1, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Bleeding Conch Vase: New Insights on Sexuality in Ancient Maya Art
Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University

Columbia University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Lecture
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Reception at 6:00 PM / Lecture at 6:30 PM

NOTE: Seating is extremely limited. RSVP to Sophia Ariel Merkin (sam2192@columbia.edu)

Overt depictions of amorous encounters are relatively rare in ancient Maya art, and perhaps for that reason, they are often overlooked or misinterpreted. Those encounters are critical in mythical narratives, and equally important for interpretations of the mythical passages depicted on Maya ceramic vases. Rather than portraying men and women in explicit embraces, Maya artists depicted magical transformations, symbolic penetrations, and grotesque unions whose meanings are not readily accessible to modern eyes. In this talk, the brightly painted surface of a ceramic vase—the little-known “Bleeding Conch Vase”—serves as point of departure for a discussion of sexuality and sexual magic in Maya art. Narratives and images provide new insights on the nuanced conventions that ancient Maya artists employed to convey the magic and mystery of sex.


March 1, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Columbia University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas


832 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University