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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) ---Heavenly Jade Of The Mayacommemorates the end of the 13th bak'tun (Mayan year cycle) of the Mayan calendar. The cycle ends onDec. 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 expressionof 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 jadeasa metaphor forbreath, scent and music.

To celebrate theend ofthe Mayancycle,over 90 Mayan artifacts are on display at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).The itemscome from the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Guatemala.

The artifacts were discovered in variousMayan ruinsin 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