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Temple Censers from Escuintla, Guatemala, and What They Tell Us About the City of the Gods with Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos at the Denver Art Museum

March 19, 2020

This presentation at the Denver Art Museum will focus on a group of objects that can be properly called “temple censers,” because they depict temple superstructures, and sometimes include elements of the basal platforms.

Early Classic censers from Escuintla, Guatemala, are among the most remarkable ceramic sculptures from ancient Mesoamerica.

While the lack of provenance data for the large majority of examples hinders their archaeological study, they conform a major corpus of information about the culture and religion of Pacific coastal peoples during a critical period, marked by intensive contacts with the great city of Teotihuacan in highland Mexico.

Dr. Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos suggests that these censers can be understood as models of actual temples, with higher or lower degrees of accuracy, simplification, idealization or hyperbole. They offer a glance at the architectural conformation, ornamentation, religious symbolism, and even the ritual activities that were carried out in the Early Classic shrines of Escuintla.

Chinchilla Mazariegos is an archaeologist specializing on the complex societies of ancient Mesoamerica. He is an associate professor in the anthropology department at Yale University, and formerly a professor at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, and curator at the Museo Popol Vuh in Guatemala City.
Free for Museum Friends, $15 for DAM members, $20 for nonmembers, and $5 for students.


March 19, 2020
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