Special Events, For Kids & Families, Weekend Festivals

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea

Weekend Festival

Included with museum admission

Saturday, May 22, 2010 from 11am - 4:30pm

Location: Atrium

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea

Weavers, dancers, puppet masters, hieroglyphics experts and artists illuminate the Maya culture of Guatemala and Mexico. Come see the ancient arts come to life!

All programs included with museum admission.
Made possible by the Lowell Institute and ECHO

Maya Dugouts

Boat builder Wade Smith reconstructs a large-scale, speculative model of a dugout canoe based on ancient Maya designs.


Amate (bark paper) Painting Demonstration

Mexican artist Felipe Heredia Diaz demonstrates this painting technique using Maya images on amate paper.


Alfombra de Asserin | Guatemala Maya Sawdust Carpet | Fiery Pool Galleries

Made from vibrant hues of hand-dyed sawdust, along with rice, dried beans and flowers, the Guatemalan alfombra is a spectacular though ephemeral work of art. Master artist Ubaldo Sanchez creates an alfombra inspired by oceans, rivers and Maya water symbols. Help make the border!

Weaving Demonstration

Using back strap or stick looms, skilled weavers of Maya descent from the El Quiche region of Guatemala create textiles featuring symbols and patterns that indicate the wearer's village, religion, family origin, ceremonial activities and more.


Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea
Family tour, 11:30 am | Adult tour, 1 pm

Tickets available on the day of the tour at the admissions desk


Grupo Awal | noon and 3 pm | Atrium

Young troupe members represent the Maya culture of Guatemala through folk dances, dress and cultural traditions. At PEM, see these 20-minute dance tributes to Maiz, or corn.


Metal Medallions | 1–3 pm | Art Studio B

Incorporate Maya motifs into your decorative medallion, inspired by objects from the exhibition.


Puppet Theater | 1:15 and 4 pm | Atrium

Gustavo Boada and members of the dance troupe Grupo Awal perform the Maya creation story — El Popol Vuh — with life-size puppets.


Rain Player
Rain Player | 2 pm | Meet at the information desk

A boy named Pik challenges the Maya god of rain to a game of pok-a-tok — a cross between soccer and basketball — to avert a drought. For children ages 5 to 9 with accompanying adult. Reservations by May 20.


Who Shall Read Them? The Decipherment of Maya Hieroglyphics
Presentation | 2–3 pm | Morse Auditorium
Workshop | 3:45–4:45 pm | Art Studios

Marc Zender, a research associate at Harvard's Peabody Museum and an eminent scholar of Maya hieroglyphs, talks about the ancient writing system and deciphering techniques. Afterward, join a beginner's workshop and make your own glyphs! For adults and teens. Reservations for both programs by May 20.


Breaking the Maya Code | 4:45–6:45 pm | Phillips Library
2008, 116 minutes, directed by David Lebrun

The complex and beautiful hieroglyphic script of the ancient Maya was until recently one of the last great undeciphered writing systems. Based on the best-selling book by Michael Coe, Breaking the Maya Code traces the epic quest to unlock the secrets of the script across 200 years, nine countries and three continents. Reservations by May 20.




Part of Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea

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