In 1981 Manchester Museum accepted a generous donation of just under 300 objects from South and Central America on behalf of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. Amongst the collection were parts of Manuel García Elgueta Mayan collection which Sir Henry Wellcome (1853 – 1936) had acquired.
Elgueta (b. 1846) was a pioneer of Mayan linguistics and archaeology, and simultaneously a politician, writer and journalist. He collected extensively in the Huehuetenango region of northwestern Guatemala and his objects were displayed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, USA and the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair, San Francisco, USA.
Mayan head carved in stone, Classic period (250-900), Chalchitán, Guatemala
The stonework in the collection comes from the important pre-Hispanic Mayan site of Pichiquil, Guatemala, and dates to the Classic Maya period AD200 – 900. Elgueta’s collection has now been widely dispersed with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA, in possession of a very significant piece.
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