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Queen of Uxmal, limestone sculpture. © Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.

LIVERPOOL.- World Museum in Liverpool invites visitors to uncover the hidden treasures of the ancient Mayas this summer, with the opening of a breathtaking exhibition in the city; the only place to host it in the UK. 

Opened on 19 June and running until 18 October 2015, Mayas: revelation of an endless time, looks back thousands of years to the Mesoamerican civilisation of the ancient Maya. 

The free exhibition takes visitors on an illuminating journey to an age of majestic warriors, astronomy and learning, shamanic rituals and human sacrifice. 

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Monument 114 of Toniná. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.

Steve Judd, Director of World Museum said: “It’s a great honour to have Mayas: revelation of an endless time coming to Liverpool. Not only is World Museum the only place you can see the exhibition in the UK, it’s also free entry, making it accessible to all.”

The ancient Maya kingdoms stretched from eastern Mexico to modern day Guatemala, Belize and into western Honduras and El Salvador, from 1000BC – AD 1542. 

What made the ancient Mayas look to the stars? Why was their civilisation so powerful? How did they communicate? Find out the answers and other revealing facts in Mayas: revelation of an endless time. 

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Figurine of a ball player. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.

Through 385 stunning objects from museums and historical sites in Mexico, the exhibition explores this extraordinary people whose culture is still alive today. 

Objects include an impressive stone ball court ring and a ceramic figurine of a ball player. The ancient Maya played the first ever documented team sport; a game with a ball, two opposing sides, an arena and spectators. Players wore padding on the hips, and many wore elaborate headdresses. The stone ball court ring, with intricate carvings of entwined feathered serpents, was found in Chichén Itzá, one of the largest Mesoamerican cities. Visitors to the exhibition can learn what the deadly consequences of the ball game were. 

 

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 Small belt mask, jade, hematite, shell. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.

Visitors also are able to see an object dating back more than 700 years, demonstrating the great significance of nature to the ancient Mayas. A striking small golden frog with turquoise eyes symbolises close links between amphibians, water-based gods and the underworld. To the ancient Mayas, the croak of frogs and toads was important as it announced the arrival of rain, leading to the renewal of the earth. 

The Ambassador of Mexico, Diego Gomez-Pickering said: “Undoubtedly this exhibition will unveil mesmerizing details about the Mayan civilization, but also will showcase to every visitor the value of Mexico’s history and the great diversity of its cultural routes.”

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Golden frog with turquoise eyes. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara. 

Throughout the exhibition’s run there is a programme of free events, including a celebration weekend in July, Mexican folk dance and traditional music, workshops for schools and public provided in partnership with Mexicolore, an independent team specialising in educational resources on Mexico, craft activities exploring Maya culture provided by the local Mexican community, a talk by TV presenter and historian, Dr Jago Cooper, and an academic symposium led by Professor Elizabeth Baquedano, renowned expert on the Pre-Hispanic world. 

There is an opportunity to purchase beautiful Mexican jewellery and crafts in the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition shop at World Museum. 

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Temple of the Warriors, with Chacmool figure in foreground, ChichénItzá. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.

Mayas: revelation of an endless time has been produced by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) in Mexico. It is part of the 2015 Dual Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom in Mexico. 

The World Cultures Gallery within World Museum contains stunning objects from the Americas collection, ranging from South America to the Arctic, with a large display of Mesoamerican archaeology. 

To celebrate the Year of Mexico in the UK, World Museum is also showing its Codex Fejérvary-Mayer, an exceptionally rare deer skin book from the Mixtec of central Mexico, for the duration of the Mayas: revelation of an endless time exhibition.

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Temple of Five Floors, Edzná. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Fotógrafo Ignacio Guevara.