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TALK: Megan O’Neil, “Bodies Transformed: Ancient Maya Carved Bones”
April 2, 2015 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The Columbia University Seminar on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas presents Megan O’Neil (Associate Curator, Art of the Ancient Americas, LACMA), who will be speaking on Ancient Maya Carved Bones.
This talk will explore how the Classic period Maya used mammal bones as artistic media to create objects that were used in life and deposited as offerings in caches and tombs. For some objects, artists carved the bones’ natural protuberances into fantastic three-dimensional forms; for others, they incised texts and images on smooth shafts. Using carved bones from Tikal, Guatemala, and other sites, it will focus on how artisans used, or countered, bones’ natural forms in crafting them into ceremonial implements and small-scale sculptures. The carved bones appear to have been valued both for their carvings and the animals from which they derived, and thus the materiality of bone and its transformation through carving, ritual use, and disposals will also be considered.