WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) --- Heavenly Jade Of The Maya commemorates the end of the 13th bak'tun (Mayan year cycle) of the Mayan calendar. The cycle ends on Dec. 21, 2012 and follows the beginning of a new era according to Mayan tradition. The number 13 holds religious and spiritual significance in Mayan culture.
Jade is a physical expression of the soul or "chulel" in Mayan culture, according to Dr. Christina Elson, archaeologist on the exhibit and co-curator of the exhibit with Dr. Francisco Estrada-Belli. The Mayans used jade as a metaphor for breath, scent and music.
To celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle, over 90 Mayan artifacts are on display at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The items come from the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Guatemala.
The artifacts were discovered in various Mayan ruins in Guatemala including Tikal. The items show how the Mayans believed in the cycle of life: birth, death and rebirth/afterlife.
The free exhibit will remain open to the public until Feb. 15, 2013.
Inter-American Development Bank
IDB Cultural Center Art Gallery
1300 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20577
Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. (M - F)
11 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Sat.)
Call for group tours: 202 623 1213
Written by: Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS & WUSA9.com