Thursday, February 23, 2012

Museo de Arte Prehispánico Rufino Tamayo

On January 29th, 1974, the Museo de Arte Prehispánico Rufino Tamayo was inaugurated after Oaxacan painter Rufino Tamayo restored this handsome colonial house (located at Morelos 503 between Porfirio Diaz and Tinoco y Palacios ) and installed his pre-Columbian art collection.

Tamayo began collecting in 1948 on a trip by donkey around the State of Veracruz, where he saw ancient Olmec idols lying in streams and little girls dressing them up like dolls. He came back with six crates of immensely valuable pieces purchased for 20 to 100 pesos. Open daily except Tuesday from 10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm; Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.

This exhibition includes works, articles and objects of the Gulf coastal cultures such as the Olmec, Totonac and Huasteca, in the Pacific states of Michoacan, Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit; groups in western Mexico as the Altiplano, Teotihuacan, Toltec and Aztec; also those from the south the Zapotec and Mixtec; and in southeastern Mexico articles belonging to the Maya.

The museum has 5 showrooms and houses approximately 1059 archaeological pieces, not all displayed. Each room is painted with different colors reflecting on the artistic taste of Tamayo.  The collections are not ordered according to their culture, rather classified them in different rooms generally according to their chronology. 

One of the purposes expressed by Rufino Tamayo for donating collection, was to prevent illegal trafficking and export of the same, at the same time and share this legacy with the people of Oaxaca and the general public.  Please visit my Picasa web album to view more of the collection.

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