National Museum of Anthropology Murals – Mexico City, Mexico - Atlas Obscura

National Museum of Anthropology Murals

National Museum of Anthropology

The unique collection often goes unnoticed by visitors focused only on the archaeological objects. 


Most go to the Museum of Anthropology to learn about the archaeological artifacts it houses. But the institution is also worth visiting to admire its fantastic murals, which are often much less appreciated by visitors.

The museum is meant to be a celebration of Mexican heritage. It’s filled with interesting artistic and architectural details that complement the various exhibits. Of all this complementary work, the most peculiar are the nearly 105 murals of the museum (of which only 17 are not on display).

These murals often go unnoticed because they serve as background paintings for the archaeological pieces. But they’re works of art that deserved to be honored and viewed for their own artistic merit.

The themes depicted in the murals vary. Take a look at them, and you’ll see anything from indigenous people in a procession in Oaxaca to the comparison of a mammoth with a saber-toothed tiger. You’ll also see the landscape of the Valley of Mexico in the 14th, images of traditional Mesoamerican pottery, the construction of the Atlantean figures of Tula, and the struggle between Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl.

The most-noticed murals tend to be the reproductions of the murals found in Teotihuacan and Bonampak. For the latter, artist Rina Lazo herself had to travel to the jungle to trace the murals figure by figure before the elements—and humans—destroyed them.

Among the artists who left their mark on the museum are Rufino Tamayo, Leonora Carrington, Luis Covarrubias, Raul Anguiano, Arturo Estrada, Carlos Mérida, Mathias Goeritz, Iker Larrauri, Rafael Coronel, and Chávez Morado.

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June 24, 2019

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