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National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City Opens Spanish Civilization Exhibition
View of one of the galleries at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico which is showing an exhibition of Spanish civilization. There are 239 pieces on view. Photo: EFE / Alex Cruz.
MEXICO CITY.- The National Anthropological Museum in Mexico City opens the exhibition España, encrucijada de civilizaciones (Spain, crossroad of civilizations) which will remain open until October 5. The show comprises 239 pieces representative of different historical periods from Spain. The exhibition gives the viewer an opportunity to discover old Spain, with centuries of history before Christ, which is framed in the Great Civilizations cycle organized by INAH(National Institute of Anthropology and History).

President Felipe Calderon inaugurated the exhibition and said that with the opening of this exhibition and the others that will follow are the beginning of the festivities of the 200th anniversary of Mexico's Independence.

The display explores the European country´s cultural hot-pot through 239 pieces belonging to the Spanish Anthropological Museum. The exhibition includes artefacts from various periods including prehistoric, pre-Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, the Germanic invasions, the middle ages and the coexistence of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the renaissance period, the enlightenment and the 19th century.

Sculptures, jewellery, statues, busts, coins, paintings, tapestries, weaponry, sepulchres, religious artefacts, columns and ornaments tell more than 300,000 years of Spanish history. All of the items belong to the Spanish museum´s permanent collection and the loan of the pieces has been made possible as the museum will be partially closed for re-modelling works for the next 28 months.

INAH Outreach Coordination officer, Benito Taibo Mahojo, stated that the exhibition reflects cultural syncretism and how peoples’ development includes acquiring other cultures’ elements.

“España, Encrucijada de Civilizaciones is a mirror where we Mexicans can reflect. Our society’s configuration involves civilizations represented in the exhibition; same syncretism defines us nowadays”, exposed the INAH coordinator.

Felix Jimenez Villalba, curator of Crossroad of Civilizations and Spain Archaeological Museum, stated the main objective is showing great cultural variety of Spain’s past, as well as material and ideological transformations that turned Iberia into a cultural crossbreeding laboratory.

The chronological approach is based on consequences in Spain native dwellers of successive immigration flows that brought in diverse ethnic and cultural affiliations. Crossbreeding and cultural change are the key concepts of the show that represents Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval, Muslim, Catholic and Modern Spain ages.

Selection criteria were based on technical and esthetic qualities, as well as historical and ideological relevance, and their role in the original context.

Although all pieces exhibited are important, some possess really special features, such as Garrovillas idol, Magacela stele, Torques from Berzocana, Costitx brass head, as well as coins and religious art.

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