Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Relics - Tatiana Proskouriakoff

Drawing of Tikal’s Temple II from Tatiana Proskouriakoff’s
An Album of Maya Architecture

Recently, I was blown away by the Nova episode "Cracking the Maya Code" and was pleased to be introduced to
artist, epigrapher, ethnologist, and archaeologist- Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1909-1985).

Down and out in the depression era 30's, Proskouriakoff, took work as an unpaid excavator in the 1936 University of Pennsylvania Museum, Piedras Negras Expeditions. It was here that she began to sketch archaeological reconstructions of sites at Chiche’n-Itza, Tikal, and Yaxchilan. Proskouriakoff's illustrations and maps are amazing, and were some of the first visual reconstructions of Maya structure at the time. One of her books, An Album of Maya Architecture is still in print- some of which can be viewed here.

Tatiana Proskouriakoff's exposure and intimacy with Maya glyphs lead to new theories about the "stelae," or stone slabs, which decorate the facades of temples. Once thought to be sculptures of gods, Proskouriakoff proved to the world that the stelae were actually specific stories of individual kings, and documented their lives from birth to death. Through pattern identification and her ability to interpret symbolism with meticulous attention- Proskouriakoff uncovered a once dormant, but eternally rich relic of Maya history and culture.


kegbenk said...

cool show aly g. those animations of the mayan script are dope.

andepie said...

thanks --- this is amazin!

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