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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Conservatory

Maya Apprentice Project begins soon!

Updated: Sep 7, 2018


The Morgan is embarking on an exciting new project this month when we welcome Ajpub’ Pablo García Ixmatá from Guatemala. Mr. García is a Maya scholar and activist coming to Cleveland for three months to learn paper arts - and bookmaking with the team at the Morgan. Ancient Maya people had a writing system – Mayan hieroglyphic writing – with which they recorded important events, the lineages of their royal families, poetic inscriptions related to traditional stories, and much else. They wrote on stone, ceramic, and, yes, in books! Accordion fold books on paper made from the ficus tree. The Dresden Codex from about 1200 (see image below) is one of only four remaining examples of Mayan books.

When the Europeans arrived in the early 16th century, these arts were lost and replaced by European paper, book structures, and content. Only in the late 20th century has the Mayan script been almost fully deciphered. And now contemporary Mayas are learning it and using it as a marker of Mayan identity. Mr. García has been part of the movement to revitalize Mayan arts and traditions, and with the help of the Morgan, he hopes to bring book and paper arts back to life in Mayan communities.

There will be many opportunities to meet Mr. García, especially as he participates in Octavofest programs around the city during his visit. Look for announcements here, on the Morgan website, and on Facebook on the Morgan ( and Octavofest ( pages.

(Blog by Laura Martin.)

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