If you’re about ready for a little break from all things Maya, here’s a shot from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science — it’s of a miniature carving (roughly 10″ tall) by Vasily Konovalenko titled “Painter:”
If you’re wondering why miniature sculpture is in a natural history museum, it’s because Konovalenko’s carvings are entirely made from gemstones. Here’s this little guy’s bill of materials from the placard:
One of the best parts of living in Colorado is that we can get up to some… interesting… mountain events over the course of the year. This was a Canadian entry at the 2012 Breckenridge snow sculpture contest:
I’m always amazed at just how much detail the sculptors can coax out of packed snow (OK, in this case with a bit of help from some icicles).
And of course, you have to look carefully to spot all the goodies they’ve packed into their work.
A bit of ancient royal propaganda on the north face of the Palace at the ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico:
This stucco is a bit tricky to get a good image of — you can’t get near it (for its own sake), and other parts of the structure it’s on block your view from ground level. So you need to work from a distance with a long lens.
I used Topaz Adjust to bring out the colors and structure a bit in this shot.
Stucco decorations on the face of the Acropolis at the Maya ruins of Ek’ Balam:
This stucco is in fantastic shape for its age — in no small part thanks to the fact that it was buried inside the Acropolis pyramid not long after it was built. It’s a tricky photographic subject thanks to the protective thatched roof overhead (the light’s even, but low, all day long), but it’s worth it to preserve this amazing work.
The old Maya ruins of Becán in México have quite a few things to recommend them. A number of structures have been restored, and are open to public viewing; several structures are both climbable and riddled with passageways (so many places to explore).
But really, the marquis attraction is this stucco figure of the Maya sun god Kinichná:
Since the stucco needs to be protected from the hot and humid environment (as well as from vandals), it’s in a purpose-built enclosure with a glass front. But the lighting’s tricky (no artificial light in the enclosure), and the glass is both dirty and scratched (take wet wipes and a paper towel) — so you have to work to get a decent shot of this bit of artwork…