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More than half a million Japanese visit Ancient Mexico Mayan, Aztec and Teotihuacan exhibition

Mexico City, Mexico — More than half a million Japanese have visited the Ancient Mexico Mayan, Aztec and Teotihuacan exhibition that had been on tour for 11 months.

Since June of 2023, the ancient exhibition has been on display in three of Japan’s most important museums. The exhibition, which concluded its tour May 6, 2024, was made up of 143 invaluable pieces including the trousseau of the Red Queen of Palenque.

The traveling exhibition was organized by the federal Ministry of Culture, through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the production company Nippon Hoso Kyokai and the national museums of Tokyo, Kyushu and Osaka Art.

A total of 556,715 visitors came to admire the trousseau of the Red Queen of Palenque among other pieces.

Mexico’s ancient exhibition was first set up at the Tokyo National Museum, the oldest in the Japanese nation, from June 15 to September 3, 2023. During that time, according to museum officials, 330,000 visited the exhibit.

From October 3 to December 10, 2023, the pieces were shown at the Kyushu National Museum, which was attended by 88,895 people before finally moving to its third and final venue at the Osaka National Museum of Art.

There, the 143 Mexican pieces were on display to the public from February 6 to May 6, 2024, where 137,087 visitors arrived.

The traveling exhibition was divided into four thematic axes, “An invitation to ancient Mexico”, “Teotihuacan. City of Gods”, “The Rise and Fall of the Mayan City-States” and “Great Aztec Temple of Tenochtitlan”, and consisted of 143 pieces.

Photo: National Coordination of Museums and Exhibitions, INAH

The curatorship was carried out by research professors from Arizona State University, Takeshi Inomata and Saburo Sugiyama, in collaboration with the Director of the Templo Mayor Project (PTM), from INAH, Leonardo López Luján.

The exhibition was conceived to convey the depth of the ancient civilizations of Mexico, mainly the Mayan, the Mexica and Teotihuacan, which prospered over more than three millennia, in the period from 1500 BC, to the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, in the 16th century.

Some of the pieces exhibited were the trousseau of the Red Queen of Palenque, gold objects recovered in recent archaeological seasons of the PTM, and green stone sculptures from the Tlalocan Project, from Teotihuacan as well as a Chac Mool from the collection of the Yucatán Regional Museum of Anthropology.

Photo: National Coordination of Museums and Exhibitions, INAH

It also included Palacio Cantón, the eagle warrior and a Tláloc pot from the Templo Mayor Museum, the Disk of Death from the National Museum of Anthropology and monumental sculptures found in the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in the Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan, among others.

The exhibition explored the enduring complexity of these cultures, through their cosmologies, the artistic manifestations they created in diverse environments, as well as the universal expressions of prayer with which they supplicated the gods and Mother Nature.

The works that made up the exhibition belong to the archaeological zones of Palenque, Toniná, Teotihuacan, Templo Mayor and its site museums, as well as the National Museum of Anthropology, the Regional Museum of Anthropology of Yucatán, Palacio Cantón, the Templo Mayor Project, the National Library of Anthropology and History and the Great Museum of the Mayan World, in Mérida.

More than half a million Japanese visit Ancient Mexico: Mayan, Aztec and Teotihuacan exhibition
Photo: National Coordination of Museums and Exhibitions, INAH

The collaboration between both nations allowed them to share the richness and beauty of ancient Mexican cultures with the ancient Japanese people, while reaffirming the ties of friendship.

Last week, the INAH reported over 1.2 million people to date have attended Mexico’s Mesoamerican cultural exhibition at the Liaoning Provincial Museum in China.