The Maya

Photograph courtesy of Florida Museum of Natural History  

Felipe Dávalos paints a replica of a Maya mural from Bonampak for the Florida State Museum in Gainesville, in 1976. The idea was to replicate the same intensity of color, proportion, and space as the ancient Maya had wanted a visitor to their city to experience.
Maya dynasty image
Painting by Christopher A. Klein

The elaborate Bonampak murals illustrate a Classic Maya dynasty that flourished 1,200 years ago, in what is now the Mexican state of Chiapas. They were housed in three rooms in the red building on the right on the city’s acropolis (above). New studies of the murals by a team led by Mary Miller have resulted in computer-enhanced reconstructions. See NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, February 1995

Bonampak image
© Mary Miller

Parading along an eight-foot wall, this raucous celebration for a new heir has become one of Bonampak’s most popular scenes. Struggling to meet a three-month deadline, Dávalos studied the faded originals for five weeks before painting the 85 figures plus a band of intricate glyphs—an average of three figures a day.
   glyphs on wall image