General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 17 Dec 2017/6 Wind
Text Size:

Link to page about the Maya Calendar
Today's Maya date is: 13.0.5.1.2 - 1823 days into the new cycle!
Link to page of interest to teachers
Click to find out how we can help you!
Search the Site (type in white box):

Article suitable for older students

Mexicolore director Graciela Sanchez meeting Sue Giles and LIsa Graves at Bristol City Museum

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Late in 2013 Mexicolore directors Graciela (right) and Ian were kindly invited by Sue Giles (Senior Collections Offier - centre) and Lisa Graves (Education Officer - left) to view some of the Mexico-related objects in the collections of Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. The Museum has past and ongoing connections with Mexico, as Sue (who has followed in the footsteps of Adela Breton, travelling all round the country) explains...

Quarter-scale copy of the wall painting by Adela Breton on the south west wall, Upper Temple of the Jaguars
Quarter-scale copy of the wall painting by Adela Breton on the south west wall, Upper Temple of the Jaguars (Click on image to enlarge)

The World Cultures collection at Bristol includes Ethnography and Egyptology. The Ethnography collection contains about 12,000 items, dating from the 18th to the late 20th centuries. This is a regionally significant collection, with some material of international importance. Major areas represented are West Africa, Central Africa, North America, Central America and the Pacific. Smaller collections exist for North, East and Southern Africa, South America, Asia and Europe.
One outstanding collection is the archive of paintings produced by the Victorian traveller Adela Breton: its importance lies in the exact copies of wall paintings of Mexican temples, where the originals are now almost entirely lost. [The collection of Breton paintings, on transparency, are currently being digitised to provide online access].

Stored in the collections are some unusual 4-legged metates (grinding stones)...
Stored in the collections are some unusual 4-legged metates (grinding stones)... (Click on image to enlarge)

Breton also collected Mexican antiquities, mostly from West Mexico. Her Mexican servant/assistant Pablo Solorio lived in Churumuco in Michoacan state, and when Breton was not in Mexico, he collected small antiquities for her by fieldwalking.
The collection covers most of the cultures of Mexico, through a painting by Breton or the small antiquities collected by her and Solorio. Her most important paintings are the full scale copies made of the wall paintings still extant in the Upper Temple of the Jaguars at Chichén Itzá. These are from the ‘Toltec-Maya’ group, in the Post-Classic period.

Back-strap loom with natural dye colours, from women’s weaving co-operative, San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, 2010
Back-strap loom with natural dye colours, from women’s weaving co-operative, San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala, 2010 (Click on image to enlarge)

There are a few Maya and Aztec pieces in the Breton collection. The Maya are represented through the paintings from Chichén Itzá and of ceramics in museum collections. The Aztec pieces include ceramic bowls and the heads of small mould-made figurines.The collections from elsewhere in Central and South America include ancient ceramics from Belize and contemporary Guatemalan costume and weaving equipment. [Krystyna Deuss, whose book Indian Costumes from Guatemala is a classic resource in this area - follow link below - researched the collection at Bristol some years ago.]

Bristol City Museum
Bristol City Museum (Click on image to enlarge)

The collections are not currently (2014) on display. They are accessible online through the museum website (below), with images being added regularly to improve the online access. Future displays are planned, and details of new exhibitions will be on the website.

Picture sources:-
• Main photo and photo of metates in storage by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore
• Photo of Breton painting courtesy of Bristol City Museums
• Photo of Guatemalan weaving by S E Carter
• Photo of the Museum by Alan Russell, Zed Photography.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Jul 31st 2014

Download some of Krystyna Deuss’s Maya costume designs...

Learn more about the metate...

Bristol City Museum website
Feedback button