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WFU Anthropology museum opens with “Monkey God” exhibit

August 22, 2006

“Gifts of the Monkey Gods: Maya Crafts from Guatemala” will be the first exhibit of the 2006-2007 season at Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology. The exhibit will open Sept. 12 and run through Dec. 15.

The exhibit will feature wooden masks, hand-woven clothing, wooden sculptures and other crafts made in Guatemala during the last century. The works reflect the inspiration of the Monkey Gods, the supernatural patrons of artisans during the Classic period (250 - 900 B.C.).

The Maya people and the collapse of their civilization in the 10th century have often been the topic of television specials and magazine articles; yet, the Maya people have not disappeared. Today, millions continue to live in Mexico and Central America, particularly Guatemala.

A museum lecture will also be held in conjunction with the exhibit. “New Discoveries in the Maya World” by George Stuart, president of the Center for Maya Research, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12. Stuart will discuss ancient Maya cosmology (study of the universe) and religion and their relationship with the modern Maya people.

Other museum events scheduled this fall include:

Fall Back Sale, Sept. 12 – Nov. 4. Selected merchandise, including imported jewelry, toys, puzzles, Kenyan kisii stone (a type of soapstone only found near the village of Kisii in western Kenya) and African wrapping paper, on sale. The museum shop will be open on Mondays during the sale.

Family Day: Sept. 16, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. A Celebration of Mexican Independence Day with Huichol shaman and artist Miguel Carrillo Montoya.

“From Sudan to the U.S.: Biocultural Implications of Traditional Dental Practices for Dinka and Nuer Refugees,” Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. Museum lecture featuring Mary Willis, assistant professor of anthropology and geography at the University of Nebraska. She will present her research with the Sudanese refugee population as they resettle in the United States.

Children’s After-School Program: “Music: The Universal Language,” Oct. 2, 16, 30 and Nov. 13. After-school programs for children grades 1 - 5 that explore the importance of music in different cultures.

“Dias de los Muertos” (Days of the Dead) Exhibit: Oct. 3 - Nov. 4. Annual exhibit featuring a traditional Mexican “ofrenda” (home altar) and other items related to the ancient religious celebration honoring children and the dead.

“Knowledge and Competencies for the 21st Century: An Anthropological View,” Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m. A museum lecture by Gary Ferraro, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The Museum of Anthropology is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (336) 758-5282 or visit

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

This huipil (Maya woman's traditional blouse) took 14-year-old Silda Cajbon Santos four months to make.
This huipil (Maya woman's traditional blouse) took 14-year-old Silda Cajbon Santos four months to make.

A wooden deer mask made in Alta Verapaz for the Deer Dance.
A wooden deer mask made in Alta Verapaz for the Deer Dance.

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