It is good to be “The King” – unless you have to move.
But in this case, it was all to the good for the Bronx and Lehman College, now the proud home of the only “official” 10-ton replica of a pre-Mayan king’s noggin in the United States.
The statue – a replica of “The King,” the first such sculpture to be unearthed in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, Veracruz, Mexico, in 1964 – is a gift from Mexico to celebrate the first anniversary of the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies, which is housed at the College.
The King had been parked in Dag Hammerskold Park at the United Nation since last year.
But unfortunately, was only a temporary guest at the park, which is administered by the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
Seems there was a waiting line for other statues to take their turn there, according to Lehman spokesman Joe Tirella.
Lehman College officials more than happy, he said, to see the massive 10-foot-tall king’s head planted on the west Bronx campus next to its main plaza.
The gift, they said, also represents the bond between both Mexico and New York, as well as the City University of New York.
It was made possible thanks to the efforts of Pedro Matar, the Director of Mexico Trade, Cumbre Tajín, and the Government of the State of Veracruz, under Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa.
Olmec Heads are representative of the great pre-Mayan Olmec civilization, deemed the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, given its achievements in science, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, and especially in sculpture.
The original “King” statue has been dated to the Early Preclassic Age, roughly 1200-900 B.C.
Lehman president, Dr. Ricardo Fernández, called “This great artistic treasure” a welcome addition to the campus.
“We will cherish it,” he said, “as a symbol of the strong bond between Mexico, Lehman College and the City University of New York.”
“The installation of a replica of an Olmec Head at Lehman College is more than a recognition of the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies’ first year and Lehman, it is a symbol of the human patrimony of the Olmec people,” said Dr. Alyisha Gálvez, the Director of the CUNY Institute for Mexican Studies.
“This ancient civilization made stunning advances in mathematics, science and the arts,” he continued. “Their legacy is a reminder of the timeless unity of the people of the Americas and the deep friendship between the people of the United States and Mexico.”
Pedro Matar, the Director of Mexico Trade, said he was happy the statue has a new home at Lehman and the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies, “where students and scholars who are studying Mexican culture can enjoy it.”