AJ tz'i-b'a (T12.nn:501:314) scribe, artist's title THE JOHN MONTGOMERY DRAWING COLLECTION

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About John Montgomery (1951-2005)

John Montgomery, widely recognized among scholars as a leading illustrator of PreColumbian art, earned his professional degrees in art history. A life-long aficionado of PreColumbian civilization, he began his higher education at age 37, graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. from the College of Fine Arts, University of New México, and earning an M.A. in PreColumbian art history in 1995. Until his untimely passing, October 13th, 2005, John was enrolled at the University of New México as a Ph.D. candidate and was teaching several art history courses at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque. John Montgomery at Nimli Punit
  John Montgomery at Nimli Punit.
A specialist in Maya hieroglyphic writing, John has conducted major investigations of hieroglyphic artists’ signatures and the "hand" or artistic style of sculptors and scribes. Although he specialized in the civilization of the ancient Maya, Mr. Montgomery’s scholarly interests ranged over a variety of subjects including: archaeology, ethnohistory, issues of state formation and decline, and tropical rain forest ecology.

He participated since 1987, in the annual Advanced Hieroglyphic Seminars at the University of Texas at Austin. Every major publication on Maya writing has featured his drawings, including:

  • Breaking the Maya Code by Michael Coe (Thames and Hudson, 1992)
  • The Code of Kings by Linda Schele and Peter Mathews (Scribner Press)
  • Stories in Red and Black by Elizabeth Boone (University of Texas Press)
  • Many volumes by Linda Schele et al. (William Morrow and Scribner, 1990-1998)

Originally from Santa Monica, California (born October 4, 1951), Mr. Montgomery lived in the Maya area from 1974 to 1981 where he worked as a tour guide at the ruins of Tikal, Guatemala, and several remote Central American archaeological sites. His wife and children are descendants of the highland Maya, and his travels in México and Guatemala have served as the basis of many professional speaking engagements. Mr. Montgomery continued until his illness, to travel and record sculpture. This afforded him the opportunity for on-site observation, and with the insights gained thereby he has been able to capture the essence of the Maya artist’s vision with his special artistic ability and sensitivity.

John’s vibrant approach to life, his agreeable attitude and friendship, and his extraordinary talents have been gifts to all who knew him. Thank you John, your spirit lives on in your artworks.

To view additional drawings by John Montgomery, please visit:

Dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs  by John Montgomery
An online dictionary of Maya glyphs with phonetic transcriptions, "T" numbers, definitions and sound recordings.

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