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Breaking Mesoamerican Codes

Still frame "Dance of the Maize God", © Night Fire Films
Still frame "Dance of the Maize God", © Night Fire Films

On January 29/30, 2015, the workshop "Breaking Mesoamerican Codes" took place in the Dahlem Museums. In talks and tours through the exhibition, the workshop focused on the exhibition planning for the Humboldt-Forum, specifically for the module "Graphic Communication Systems in Mesoamerica".

A public film screening with David Lebrun (Night Fire Films), Los Angeles, followed the workshop on January 29. The documentary filmmaker David Lebrun presented his new work "Dance of the Maize God". The 96-minute film enters the world of exquisitely painted Maya vases to explore the royal life and rich mythology of the Maya, as well as the tangled issues involved in the collection and study of looted art. The story is told by villagers, looters, scholars, dealers and curators. For each, these vases hold a different value and meaning. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize of the Rovereto Festival in Italy, and the Special Audience Award of the Festival of the Bidasoa, in Spain.

A screening of Lebrun's award-winning documentary feature film "Breaking the Maya Code" from 2008 about the deciphering of Maya hieroglyphs followed.

Between the two screenings, David Lebrun talked to Margarete van Ess (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin), Carola Wedel (ZDF) and Marc Zender (Tulane University, New Orleans) hosted by Viola König (Ethnologisches Museum) and answered questions from the audience.

You can review the program of the workshop and the Long Night of Maya-films here:

Workshop program "Breaking Mesoamerican Codes" (PDF)

Program Long Night of Maya-films (PDF)