On the Turquoise Trail in Mexico by Colin McEwan PhD
This meeting will be held at The Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.
The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.
Turquoise has a fascinating history in Mexico. Wherever it could be wrested from the earth, this precious blue-green gemstone was highly prized for its compelling range of colors and attractive textures and is still much sought after today. This lecture will explain how the scientific study of finely wrought turquoise on Prehispanic mosaics offers key insights into its cultural meanings and uses. The significance and status of turquoise in the Aztec world is reflected in the masterpieces that were fashioned by skilled artisans serving in the Royal Court of the Emperor Moctezuma.
Dr. Colin McEwan is Director of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC. He specializes in the art and archaeology of the Pre-Columbian Americas and has carried out fieldwork in diverse settings including the Peruvian Highlands, Upper Amazon, coastal Ecuador, and Patagonia. From 1979-1991 he directed the Agua Blanca Archaeological Project focused on a major Manteño settlement in the Machalilla National Park, coastal Ecuador. He was formerly head of the Americas Section at the British Museum, London, where he authored or co-edited exhibition publications including ‘Ancient Mexico in the British Museum’ (1994); 'Patagonia: Natural History, Prehistory and Ethnography at the Uttermost End of the Earth' (1997); 'Pre-Columbian Gold: Technology, Style and Iconography' (2000); 'Unknown Amazon: Culture in Nature in Ancient Brazil' (2001); 'Turquoise Mosaics from Mexico' (2006); 'El Caribe Pre-Colombino' (2008); Ancient American Art in Detail (2009); and 'Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler' (2009). He is particularly interested in reconstructing and interpreting the roles that objects play in prehistoric cultural landscapes, including why certain materials were valued, how they were procured and deployed, and the archaeological contexts in which they are found.