photographs by Alfred P. Maudslay, 1883-1890

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: English archaeologist and photographer Alfred Percival Maudslay (1850-1931) first visited Central America in 1872 after being inspired by the images he saw in Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens. The "unexpected magnificence of the monuments" in the tropical forests captivated Maudslay, who then dedicated his life to documenting ruins found in Mexico and Central America. Maudslay played a crucial role in exploring and documenting ancient Mayan ruins found in several sites including Palenque, Copan, and Chichen Itza. Between 1881 and 1894, he conducted arduous explorations in remote areas, carrying his photographic equipment, casting plaster, and other supplies to make careful photographic records and plaster casts of architectural ruins. When he returned to England he published his findings in a multi-volume set entitled Biologia Centrali-Americana and made exhibition prints from his glass plate negatives that were shown at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It was in Chicago that Brooklyn Museum founding curators Stewart Culin and William Henry Goodyear saw the prints and arranged to purchase them, along with the Biologia for the Brooklyn Museum. The photographs and the multi-volume book remain an essential foundation for Maya studies, offering thorough views of the architectural ruins along with details of hieroglyphs carved into the monuments. In the face of wide-scale looting that has imperiled the historical record, researchers have turned to Maudslay's photographs, his plaster casts, and his books to better understand Mayan writing and architecture. The Brooklyn Museum permits users to.
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27 Oct 2015 18:41:12 UTC
data source:, (last updated: 13 Jan 2009 20:16:14 UTC)
27 Oct 2015 18:41:12 UTC
metadata document: (last updated: 13 Jan 2009 20:16:14 UTC)