Artifacts from Fishkin Maya collection on display in KOA Gallery

Maya for web
Painted ceramic plate

Artifacts from a collection of Maya pottery once belonging to Bradford natives Jerome and the late Jack Fishkin will be on display at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford from Thursday through Dec. 13. 

            The Fishkins donated the collection to their alma mater, St. Bonaventure University, which is loaning the artifacts for the exhibition in the KOA Art Gallery in Blaisdell Hall. An opening reception will take place at 6:30 p.m Thursday and is free and open to the public. Hours in the gallery are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.

            The exhibition will feature Maya ceramics from plates and bowls to wind instruments and incense burners. It will also include scholarly research by Dr. Stephen Whittington of Wake Forest University, which exhibited the artifacts in 2009.

            “We are incredibly lucky to have a collection of Mayan art of such high quality to enjoy here on campus. Normally it would be necessary to travel hours to see a collection of this quality,” said Dr. Michael Stuckart, associate professor of anthropology at Pitt-Bradford who has studied and taught about Maya civilizations and traveled extensively in Central and South Americas.

            The Maya, Stuckart said, are renowned in the fields of art, archaeology and anthropology for their many significant cultural achievements in art, architecture, mathematics, astronomy and urban planning.

            Most of the artifacts on display date from A.D. 600 to 900. Some of them depict the fierce blood-letting rituals the Maya practiced as part of a ballgame often played with prisoners of war, who were then beheaded if they lost, according to a 2009 interview with Whittington.

            The Fishkins purchased the artifacts from a collector in 1979 in Florida, according to Jerome Fishkin.

            “I was very interested in the cultures of the world and so was Jack,” Fishkin said. Two years later, the brothers donated the collection to St. Bonaventure, which cleaned and restored the artifacts before putting them on display for a full academic year in the Regina A. Quick Center of the Arts at St. Bonaventure. Hundreds of schoolchildren saw and learned about the collection before it traveled to Wake Forest the following academic year. During the 2012-13 academic year, the collection was on view as part of “The Secrets of the Maya” at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, S.C.

            Jerome Fishkin’s wife, Alice, said she is looking forward to seeing the artifacts on display again at Pitt-Bradford.

            For more information, contact Patty Colosimo, coordinator of arts programing at (814)362-5155 or Colosimo@pitt.edu.

            For disability-related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at (814)362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.

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