Thursday, February 16, 2012

Belize Jade Head - The Maya Sun God - Kinich Ahau displayed for one day only at the Musuem of Belize

By: Will Moreno

On February 15th, 2011, for one day only, The Museum of Belize (NICH) offered the general public a rare glimpse into the past by showcasing a magnificent and unique Maya Artifact that is near and dear to the nation of Belize and its people, the Jade Head of the Sun God, Kinich Ahau.
Unedited for purpose of realism of color and tones
Photos by: Will Moreno
The Belize Maya Jade Head of the Maya Sun God (Kinich Ahau) was removed from the vault and its casing from an undisclosed location to see the light of day once again in Belize. Many proud Belizeans including school children, as well as, cruise tour visitors lined up at the Museum of Belize to share a rare glimpse of this beautiful Maya Jade Head and Jewel of Belize.
It was a truly inspiring and amazing experience to work alongside the Museum of Belize (NICH) as the Jade Head of Kinich Ahau was unveiled to the public. Capturing images of visitors and the beautiful Maya artifact is an experience I will hold near and dear to my heart. Standing there capturing the images had me wondering what if this silent, yet so beautiful Maya Jade Head of Belize could speak. I can just imagine the wonderful stories of the life of the Maya that it would tell!
The famous Maya Jade head was discovered in 1968 by Dr. David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum of Canada and several of his Belizean workers that were working at the Maya site of Altun Ha in Belize. The Maya Ruin of Altun Ha is conveniently located 31 miles north of Belize City off the old northern highway.
The Jade Head along with forty other objects were found in a large tomb that was located located just below the stair block on the Temple of The Masonry Altars (Structure B4). The roof of the tomb had already collapsed from the growth of the roots of trees growing at the site and penetrating the tomb. The tomb contained the remains of a elderly adult male, who was likely an important ruler of the famous Maya site during his time.  Although the exact date the Jade Head was carved is unknown the analysis of the cultural remains found in the tomb dates back to somewhere around 600 and 650 A.D.  It is believed that the Maya took months maybe even years to create such a significant jade masterpiece using the primitive carving tools of their time. The Maya Ruler may have commissioned an artist to to produce the Jade Head to commemorate the important events of his life and his time as ruler of the site. The Jade Head may have also been passed down from generation to generation finally ending up in this Maya ruler's tomb due to his importance.
This, not only beautiful, but also remarkable piece of Maya artwork, is significant because its the only one ever found in the Mundo Maya. It was carved from one solid piece of jade which was the most precious of stones to the Maya. According to the studies done on the Jade Head, it is believed that the large piece of jade that was used to carve this Maya masterpiece came from the Motagua River Valley area in Guatemala.
Weighing only 9.75 pounds and measuring 5.86 inches high, the magnificent Maya Jade Head of Kinich Ahau, The Maya Sun God has a marbled effect and resembles that beautiful green hue of the Caribbean Sea that caresses the shores of Belize. This is truly a Jewel of the Mayas and a Jewel of Belize. It is a sight to behold!
For more images of the wonderful experience you can check with the Museum of Belize (NICH) or Will Moreno

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It is the season for Breadfruit in Belize

By: Will Moreno

Yes, it sure is the season for Breadfruit in Belize. What is a Breadfruit, you may ask? Well, simply put, the Breadfruit is a remarkable food source.
The Breadfruit has long been a staple in the diets of the Pacific Islanders, but was introduced into the Caribbean in the late 18th-century when the Bristish slave masters were looking for a very cheap food source alternative that was very high in nutrients to introduce into the diets of their slaves. This is the period the Breadfruit was introduced to the Caribbean.
The Breadfruit is very rich in starch, carbohydrates, water and vitamin C, potassium and zinc. Before being eaten, they are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When you cook the breadfruit it tastes somewhat like potato, or similar to fresh-baked bread. In reality, it takes the flavor of whatever you cook it with, so sometimes its prepared with coconut milk or with different kind of meats.
When you are selecting a breadfruit from the tree if you choose a green fruit, its green and hard on the exterior with small raised black spines and the interior is white in color and on the inside it would be very starchy and somewhat fibrous. When fully ripe, the fruit's external color remains the same but is somewhat soft, the interior would be cream colored or yellow and pasty, also sweetly fragrant.
Belizeans in Belize for years have been eating Breadfruit not knowing that it was actually introduced as a food for the slaves. It is often prepared by cutting off the outer skin and cutting the fruit into slices, then deep fried to give it a crisp texture. The amount of crisp on the fried breadfruit depends on the thickness of the slices.

Is this making you hungry yet? Then it's not too late because breadfruit is still in season in Belize. Come to Belize and enjoy the culinary experience.