Digital collection of Jay I. Kislak’s Mesoamerican Artifacts in the Library of Congress

Asha Bajaj
4 min readJan 13, 2021

#​Washington; #LibraryOfCongress; #DigitalCollection; #JayIKislakCollection; #MesoamericanArtifacts;

Washington/Canadian-Media: The collection of Jay I. Kislak Archaeology and History of the Early Americas containing important archaeological artifacts, rare books, manuscripts, maps, and graphic works of art, surveying the earliest history of the lands that would become known as the Americas is now described comprehensively in a new, online finding aid of the Library of Congress (LoC), LoC reported.

Jay I. Kislak Foundation. Image credit: Facebook official
Jay I. Kislak. Image credit: Facebook official

Besides the online finding aid, the LoC also maintains a new digital collection of selected items, including over 300 archaeological artifacts to improve the public’s ability to discover and learn more about this significant historical collection.

Digital Collection Landing Page for the Kislak Collection. Image credit: Screenshot

Kislak, a businessman, philanthropist, military aviator, and collector, donated his collection to the Library of Congress in 2014.

Included in the Kislak collection are many three-dimensional objects of pre-Columbian date, documenting the indigenous peoples of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

More than twenty indigenous cultures, including the Nahua, the Nuudzahui, the lowland, and highland Maya, the Taino, the Olmec, the Wari, the Inca, and many others are found in Pre-Columbian artifacts, which provide an overview of the arts of indigenous cultures in the period before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Some important texts are written with Mayan hieroglyphs, the only complete writing system originating in the Americas are found in the artifacts like the Tortuguero Box and the dynastic codex-style vase with sixty hieroglyphs.

Codex-Style Vase with Sixty Hieroglyphs from the Classic Maya Period, 300–700 CE. ​Image credit: Kislak Collection, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.
Asha Bajaj

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