Top Ten at the Museo Nacional de Antropología

In my mind, a great way to spend a rainy afternoon, especially when travelling, is to visit a museum. One museum I have particularly enjoyed wandering around was the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City. There was so much to see and as someone who has probably seen one too many Eurocentric museums, it was fantastic to be in a place where I was seeing things about cultures I didn’t know much about. If anthropology and/or history are of interest to you, it is very easy to lose track of time in this place. This is why a rainy day is a perfect time to visit. If you’re ever in Mexico City, I highly recommend this place and do suggest you put aside several hours for it. Here are my top ten things for which to keep an eye out at the Museo Nacional de Antropología:

Ten: Clothes and Jewelry – Gold is the name of the game for jewelry and it is easy to understand why the Spaniards were convinced of an El Dorado somewhere in the Americas. As for clothes, colourful patterns are the norm on display here. The coolest thing I saw in this category was the headpiece reputed to have belonged to Montezuma!

Nine: Containers – Everyone needs something to hold some things.

Eight: Faces – Why, hello there…

Seven: Paintings – Both ancient and modern styles can be found at this museum. But not weird modern – no giant mops representing the stairway to heaven, here…

Six: Animal Forms – Some are actual animals and some are gods in different forms. There is even an elephant face. I especially enjoyed the vomiting jaguar.

Five: People – Being an anthropology museum, people in some form or another are on display everywhere here: carvings, drawings, and skeletons. The saddest one was the baby in a jar of some sort.

Four: Skulls – Some of the skulls were hilarious….that may be my dark humour talking, though…

Three: Aztec Calendar – It was just my luck that the Mayan Calendar was out on loan elsewhere. But the Aztec Calendar was also very neat to see.

Two: Olmec Heads – Sometimes you learn about things and they become your raison d’etre. For me, seeing the Olmec Heads were the main reason I had wanted to visit this museum as I’d seen a picture of them years ago and had always wanted to see one in person. They didn’t disappoint! There are 17 of these things around Mexico, two at this museum, and the oldest dates back to 1500BC.  And they are generally colossal. The one pictured here is one of the smaller ones…Anthropology Museum (28)One: Statues Doing Things – While the Olmec Heads were originally the whole point of why I wanted to visit this museum, statues doing things ended up being the highlight for me. There were so many various types of statues at this museum and many of them really amused me or perplexed me. Either way, statues doing things, especially out of context, can be a lot of fun!

Have you been to this museum? What was your favourite exhibit?

2 responses to “Top Ten at the Museo Nacional de Antropología

  1. It looks like a really nice museum! I love the Olmec head! I really can’t figure out what most of those statues are doing!

    That Montezuma headdress, those have to be replacement feathers, right? There’s no way those would keep that well…

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