Kimbell Acquires Rare Maya Art Work

Two Maya Censer stands will go on display on April 21

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth features all kinds of well known works of art.

And soon, the Kimbell will be showing off some rare Maya works that you can only find in one other museum in the U.S.

"We think they're about 690 to 720 A.D.," said Jennifer Casler Price, curator for Asian and non-western art at the Kimbell.

The nearly 1,300 year old art works remain in remarkably good shape, which makes them a huge addition to the museum's permanent collection.

"We can see that they are in superb condition, there's a little bit of restoration, but not much," Casler Price said. "All of the material that we see here is original."

Long before they became art works in collections the Palenque-style ceramic censer stands were part of ceremonies at Maya temples.

"They're a way of communicating with the ancestral realm, with the supernatural realm," Casler Price said.

The censers were ritually buried beneath temples and later excavated. However, the two shouldn't be considered a pair as they don't match.

"I think the skill and technical craftsman that we're seeing denotes these were made by the same hand and defiantly by a royal artist," Casler Price said.

The public will soon see that skill up close, although behind glass. One of the censers features three Maya Gods, the Maize God, with corn stalks near its ears, the Jester God, and the Jaguar God of the Underworld.

"So much attention to detail has been given to these, when you walk up you can see all of the hand modeling that's been done," she said.

The Kimbell already features many other works in its Precolombian collection from Maya artisans, but the censer stands Casler Price says will stand out.

"They're really going to become a center piece for the collection," she said.

With each detail and historical note free to see by the end of the month.

The stands will go on display beginning April 21 and will eventually be moved to the new Renzo Piano edition when it is completed later this year.

The only other censer stands known to be on display in the U.S. are in a museum in Los Angeles, so it's a rare find.

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