Many of the plaster walls in the elaborate architectural compounds in the enormous central Mexican city of Teotihuacan (150 BC–AD 650) were decorated with painted murals. Painters first applied mineral pigments to the wet lime plaster, and when the pigments were dry, they polished the walls with small basalt tools to add sheen and make them more durable. The two objects shown here come from two different Museum collections. The former director of the Exhibit Museum of Natural History, Irving G. Reimann, acquired the stone polisher on the left in 1939 and later donated it to the UMMAA. The plaster fragment on the right comes from the heavily decorated Tepantitla elite residential compound. Museum Director James B. Griffin and distinguished Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso acquired it in the late 1940s during a Museum expedition.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.