Pre-Columbian ceramics

ITC hosts Dec. 11 vocal performance, exhibit opening

By Alison Beshur
Public Affairs Specialist

(Dec. 9, 2005)--The San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE) will use ancient instruments to mark the opening of the exhibit, "Animal Spirits and Warrior Kings: Pre-Columbian Art," at 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11 at UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 S. Bowie St., in downtown San Antonio.

The exhibit of ceramic drinking and serving pots adorned with figures of dogs, jaguars, birds and monkeys provides insight into the religious and political beliefs and ancient people of western Mexico, Mesoamerica and South America.

John Davis, interim executive director of ITC, said Sunday's event exemplifies the institute's mission to provide programs and host exhibits that are not only enjoyable, but help create an understanding and appreciation among people.

"Such events and exhibits deal with peoples who have lived at different times and with varying ways of life," Davis said. "They point out where we have come from and where we may be going, and this knowledge is necessary to being fully, creatively human."

SAVAE's performance of unique Christmas music will include 17th century composers' adaptations of melodies, rhythms and dialects of African laborers and indigenous Aztecs, Mayas and Incas. The group blends seven voices with pre-Columbian wind and percussion instruments, such as huilacapitztli (clay ocarinas), lajas (stones), teponatsli (log drum), huehuetl (tall drum), rainsticks, rasps, deer antlers and various rattles and shakers.

The concert starts at 3 p.m. and is preceded by a 2:30 p.m. instrument petting zoo to allow visitors hands-on access to test their skills playing ancient instruments. After the concert, attendees can indulge in Mexican chocolate, coffee and sweets and participate in making quipus, an ancient Incan accounting system of chords and knots. Tickets are $12.

"Animal Spirits and Warrior Kings: Pre-Columbian Art" runs through Feb. 5 and includes a display of a modern-day Guatemalan highland market, a replica shaft tomb and jewelry and weavings from a variety of indigenous groups.

For more information, visit the Institute of Texan Cultures Web site or call (210) 458-2330.

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