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- The ancient Mayan city of Palenque is located on a natural shelf in Mexico’s Chiapas State. It flourished as the seat of a powerful royal court in the 7th century AD, but was abandoned in the 9th century and reclaimed by the forest. It was discovered in the mid-1700s by villagers from nearby Santo Domingo do Palenque. In 1787, King Charles III of Spain ordered the governor-general of Guatemala to investigate the ruins and collect artifacts for the national museum in Madrid. The governor-general entrusted the work to a Spanish army officer, Antonio del Río, who spent five weeks that year clearing, studying, drawing, and exploring the site. Del Río’s report of his findings ranks as the first substantial work of scientific archaeology produced in the Americas. Del Río hired a Guatemalan draftsman, Ricardo Almendáriz, who produced these 30 magnificent ink-and-wash drawings of the ruins at Palenque. This set from the Library of Congress is the most complete contemporary version of the Almendáriz drawings.
Title in Original Language
Colección de Estampas Copiadas de las Figuras . . . de Chiapas, una de las del Reyno de Guatemala en la América Septentrional
Type of Item
- 30 drawings : ink and wash ; 31 x 22 centimeters