Maya Exploration Center: Education Through Exploration
Staff and Associates
Walter "Chip" Morris [e-mail]
»MacArthur Genius Award Recipient, 1983
»Former Director of Na Bolom
»Author of Living Maya

» Dr. Edwin Barnhart
» Dr. Christopher Powell
» Alonso Mendez
» Carol Karasik
» Chip Morris
» Dr. Kirk French
» James Eckhardt
» Dr. Michael Grofe
» Lilia Lizama
» Dr. David Hixson
» Dr. Gerardo Aldana
When Chip Morris first arrived in Chiapas in 1972, the meaning of Maya textile symbols was nearly lost. While living in the isolated village of San Andrés and learning the Tzotzil Maya language, he became fascinated by the weaver's art. Having studied Chinese at Columbia University, he was especially interested in symbolism. With grants from the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution, Chip discovered the mythological, calendrical, and astronomical underpinnings of Highland Maya designs. His analysis of costumes from Yaxchilan and Largartero revealed that contemporary Maya designs dated back to Classic Maya civilization.

Along with research, Chip has devoted his career to preserving and promoting highland Maya weaving. He is a co-founder of Sna Jolobil, an 800-member weaving cooperative based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. He has organized indigenous artisan groups throughout Chiapas, Yucatan, and Guatemala, and has established community-run museums for the Lacandon Maya and the Itza of Peten. He is currently engaged in a long-term study of costume changes among the highland Maya.

Chip received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award for his groundbreaking ethnographic and archaeological work. He is the author of Living Maya, along with numerous articles on textiles and artisan development programs. A former director of Na Bolom, he lives in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. He spends his free time making mobile sculptures out of spinning whorls and weaving swords.
Suggested reading books can be bought at JungleCasts with Dr. Barnhart