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Archive for the ‘Yucatán’ Category

Alice Dixon Le Plongeon. Governor's Palace, Uxmal, Yucatán. Selfie-1876. Courtesy of the Getty Open Content Program. http://www.blurb.com/b/6134743-a-catalog-of-the-19th-century-photographs-of-alice

Alice Dixon Le Plongeon. Governor’s Palace, Uxmal, Yucatán. Selfie-1876. Courtesy of the Getty Open Content Program.
http://www.blurb.com/b/6134743-a-catalog-of-the-19th-century-photographs-of-alice

This book by Lawrence G. Desmond is a catalog of 1,034 photographs taken by Alice Dixon and Augustus Le Plongeon in Yucatán, Mexico, and Belize from 1873 to 1885. Some of the photos are the first taken of Maya archaeological sites in Yucatán, and of the people of Yucatán during the 19th century.

The subjects in the photo are: Landscapes, Colonial and Ancient Maya Architecture, Portraits, and Ethnographic photos. The original photos are archived at: The American Museum of Natural History, the Donald Dixon album in London, the Getty Research Institute, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, and the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles. In the 1990s, uplicates of the original photos were made with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Grant RT-20746). The duplicates can be viewed at the Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the “Lawrence G. Desmond collection of Augustus Le Plongeon and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon Photographs.” Collection ID number: 5268.

To purchase a copy of the catalog as hardcopy, a PDF or just view all the pages go online to the web site of Blurb. Click on the link under the cover photo to go directly to the Catalog at the Blurb web site and view all the pages.

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Title page of doctoral dissertation.

Title page of doctoral dissertation.

Lorena Careaga V

Lorena Careaga V.

A new doctoral dissertation of note: “Invaders, explorers and travelers: Everyday life in Yucatán from another perspective, 1834-1906” by Dr. Lorena Careaga. Careaga, a professor and director of the library at the Universidad del Caribe in Yucatán, recently completed a multi-year study of how life was lived in Yucatán, Mexico during the Caste War that pitted the Maya against the central government of Mexico for more than a half century.

Bibliographic reference:

Lorena Careaga, “Invasores, exploradores y viajeros: la vida cotidiana en Yucatán desde la óptica del otro, 1834-1906” [“Invaders, explorers and travelers: Everyday life in Yucatán from another perspective, 1834-1906”], Ph.D. Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, México, February 2015.

Abstract

This doctoral dissertation summarizes and critically reviews the life and work of 30 men and 3 women from outside of Mexico who traveled through Yucatán between 1834 and 1906 as explorers, expeditionary photographers, war correspondents, mercenaries, government representatives, military officers, merchants, artists and naturalists, and who left published accounts of their travels, as well as their personal appraisal of everyday life during the revolt of the Maya against the government of Mexico called the Caste War of Yucatán. The dissertation also assesses the contribution of nineteenth century travelers in Yucatán to the then developing fields of archaeology, anthropology with special emphasis on Maya ethnography.

While there are numerous studies about nineteenth century foreign travelers to Mexico, in the case of the Yucatán Peninsula this dissertation fills two important research gaps. The first is travelers’ reports of everyday life in general, and in particular, how life was lived during the Caste War while under a permanent threat of attack. Analyzed and placed in historical context are travelers’ first hand descriptions of everyday life in times of conflict, and the effects of warfare on Yucatecan life.

Secondly, most bibliographic compilations list only fifteen foreign travelers to the Yucatán Peninsula from 1834 to 1906. Some important observers were left out because their theories and opinions were considered unacceptable, and others were overlooked because their writings were not translated. This dissertation presents a comprehensive and systematic study of all thirty-three foreign travelers.

Finally, Careaga compares and contrasts photographs, drawings, maps, engravings, vocabularies, and other documentary materials produced by travelers, explorers, and expeditionary photographers, and assesses their contribution to our knowledge of life in Yucatán during this period of revolutionary conflict.

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Mexico- Landscape and Architecture. Jacket cover.

Mexico- Landscape and Architecture.

Preview book: Mexico- Landscape and Architecture by Lawrence G. Desmond

Hot off the press: Mexico- Landscape and Architecture. After publishing three books that feature the peoples of Mexico, I have just finished my first book of photos that highlight the landscape and architecture. Most of the photos were taken in the 1970s when I was living in Puebla, and attending the Universidad de las Americas in Cholula. The photos are now archived at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.

I took advantage of days off from classes at the Universidad de las Americas to travel around Mexico with family and friends. We were graduate students in art history and archaeology, and that required a stop at nearly every Colonial church and archaeological site. The trips, along with my photos, were pretty much unplanned.

I was seldom without my camera because, for me, the Cholula-Puebla region is one of the most photogenic in Mexico. To the west are the snow capped volcanoes of Popocatepetl (17,802 ft, 5,426 m) and Iztaccihuatl (17,343 ft, 5,286 m); and scattered throughout the region are small farming villages and, some say, 365 Colonial churches. True or not, the churches are architectural jewels, and a photographic challenge.

Of course, Mexico has many landscapes — the dry and open spaces of Oaxaca that are reminiscent of Northern California, the damp-steep mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla, the rugged western mountains near Tepic, volcanoes both dormant and ready to erupt, deserts in Northern Mexico and Baja California, the flat limestone plain of Yucatán surrounded by the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the thick humid tropical rainforest along the Gulf Coast that penetrates inland for hundreds of miles.

Most everywhere you travel in Mexico you are likely to see the remains of an ancient civilization. One of the most spectacular, near Mexico City, is Teotihuacan (popularly known as “The Pyramids”), but equally spectacular are the great cities of the Maya such as Uxmal and Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, and in Oaxaca is Monte Alban built on a mountaintop by the Zapotecs, and further south is Mitla with its delicate stone work made by the Mixtecs.

The photos in the book were selected from my Kodachrome transparencies and black-and-white negatives. With a few exceptions, they date from the early 1970s, and were taken with a 35mm Leicaflex SL camera using 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses. The 35mm Kodachrome film was processed by Kodak labs in Palo Alto, California and Mexico City, and I processed the black-and-white Kodak Tri-X film at the Universidad de las Americas in Cholula using Edwal FG7 developer mixed with sodium sulfite.

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Maya musicians playing at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Mérida in Yucatán, Mexico. 2013. Pic: Milbrath

Maya musicians playing at the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Mérida in Yucatán, Mexico. 2013.      Pic: Milbrath

           Professor Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology for the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, presented her paper, “Agro-astronomical evidence among the ancient Maya” at the colloquium “La relación sociedad- naturaleza entre los mayas” held in the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Mérida in Yucatán, Mexico on October 18.

           Prof. Milbrath’s paper is a new exploration of the role of Venus and solar eclipse cycles in Maya agronomy. Maya agricultural cycles today indicate that observations of the sun and moon, and the Pleiades remain important, but her study also documents observations of Venus and solar eclipses in relation to agricultural cycles in the Madrid Codex, suggesting a sophisticated form of agro-astronomy in ancient Maya agricultural almanacs.

Abstract of the paper–

“La Evidencia Agro-astronómica Entre los Antiguos Maya”

En los c6dices mesoamericanos, Venus está estrechamente vlnculada con el ciclo solar, en almanaques que integran cinco ciclos de Venus, con ocho años solares, en los que este planeta vuelve a la misma posición en eo relación con el añio solar, cada ocho añios. El uso de este almanaque se extiende desde el centro de México hasta el área maya, y al parecer se originó en el período Preclásico Tardio.

Es evidente que las fases de Venus y eventos de esta naturaleza, fueron seguidos de cerca, en re!aci6n con el ciclo de siembra, lo que refleja una forma de agro-astronomía que sólo estamos empezando a comprender.

Article in the Diario de Yucatan

An article about Prof. Milbrath’s paper was published in the Merida newspaper Diario de Yucatán on October 19, 2013. The article can be accessed by clicking on this link: Diario de Yucatán- Valoran el sistema agroastronómico maya 19 Oct 2013

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Phillip Hofstetter, chair of the department of art at California State University East Bay, has recently published a book of enchanting and eye bending photographic panoramas of Maya archaeological sites.

Maya Yucatán: An Artist’s Journey

Author: Phillip Hofstetter; Foreword: David Freidel

Summary

“Before ever setting out on my adventures in Yucatán I did not know that I was preparing to walk a spiritual path in that ancient country. Before going there I had not taken much account of my yearning to seek out sacred places. But in Yucatán I discovered this longing for wandering among the people and landscapes of the peninsula. I eventually understood that there was an invisible spirit world of the Maya that animated their stories, their ancient ruins, and all their works from two thousand years of civilization in that ancient land.”–from Maya Yucatán. 

Phillip Hofstetter first visited Yucatán in 1987 and was entranced, as much by the sheer physical beauty of the region as by the enduring character of the Maya people still inhabiting the region. For more than twenty years he has been documenting his travels in Yucatán and his professional collaboration with archaeological excavation projects there. His reflections on the Maya culture emphasize survival and adaptation, while images of ancient sites, the churches of the Franciscan mission period, and the ruined haciendas of the henequen period serve as physical reminders of the enduring ways in which the Maya have shaped the landscape of Yucatán over millennia.

Hardback- 11 x 9 in., 160 pages, 102 color and black-and-white photographs, 1 drawing, 2 maps.

University of New Mexico Press

ISBN 978-0-8263-4694-0

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