Mexican experts: nearly 1,000-year-old Maya text authentic

Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute says it was made between 1021 and 1154 A.D., is the oldest known pre-Hispanic text, and will now be known as the "Mexico Maya Codex." (INAH/AP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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Mexican experts: nearly 1,000-year-old Maya text authentic

  • The 10 surviving pages of the tree-bark folding “book” will now be known as the Mexico Maya Codex
  • The fact that it was looted and had a simpler design than other surviving texts had led some to doubt its authenticity

MEXICO CITY: Fifty-four years after it was sold by looters, an ancient Maya pictographic text was judged authentic by scholars Thursday.
Mexico’s National Institute of History and Anthropology said the calendar-style text was made between 1021 and 1154 A.D. and is the oldest known pre-Hispanic document.
The 10 surviving pages of the tree-bark folding “book” will now be known as the Mexico Maya Codex. It had been known as the Grolier Codex. It may have originally had 20 pages, but some were lost after centuries in a cave in southern Chiapas state.
It contains a series of observations and predictions related to the astral movement of Venus. Mayan texts are written in a series of syllabic glyphs, in which a stylized painted figure often stands for a syllable.
A Mexican collector bought it in 1964, and it was first exhibited at the Grolier Club in New York in 1971.
Collector Josue Saenz returned the book to Mexican authorities in 1974.
The fact that it was looted and had a simpler design than other surviving texts had led some to doubt its authenticity.
“Its style differs from other Maya codex that are known and proven authentic,” the institute said in a statement. About three other later Maya “books” survived an attempt by Spanish conquerors to destroy Mayan artifacts in the 1500s.
But the institute said Thursday that because the book was written so early, it had been created in an era of relative poverty compared to the other works. It said a series of chemical tests proved the authenticity of the pages and the pre-Hispanic inks used to write it.
While previous studies had supported the authenticity of the text, it was the end of decades of doubts for the book.
“For a long time, critics of the codex said the style wasn’t Mayan and that it was ‘the ugliest’ of them in terms of figures and color,” said institute researcher Sofia Martinez del Campo. “But the austerity of the work is explained by its epoch, when things are scarce one uses what one has at hand.”


The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

Emma Stone at the 2015 Academy Awards. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

DUBAI: We recount some of our favorite Arab-designed gowns to grace the Oscars’ red carpet.

Halle Berry

Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress. She wore a now iconic Elie Saab burgundy gown with a see-through corset and floral detailing for the occasion.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez presented at the 2012 ceremony and turned heads in a beautiful white Zuhair Murad dress embellished with sequins and featuring a plunging neckline and figure-hugging cut.  

Lady Gaga

Always one to shine, Lady Gaga showed up to the 2015 show wearing a white Azzedine Alaia dress with red dishwashing gloves.

Emma Stone

Stone wore a beautiful green-hued Elie Saab gown to the 2015 ceremony. The embellishments, cut and fall of the fabric made the dress a whimsical and dreamy number to remember.

Jenna Dewan

At the 2014 awards show, Dewan wore a mermaid style Reem Acra gown that was tight fitting and embellished with feathers and sequins.

Chrissy Teigen

The always elegant Teigen wore a white Zuhair Murad dress with a high split to the 2017 ceremony show. The gown featured metallic detailing and a gold belt to cinch in the waist.