Frans Blom

Frans Blom was a notable archaeologist who had many great explorations and discoveries that contributed to the field of Mesoamerican studies. One of his greatest accomplishments, was his founding of Na Bolom in 1950, which is still operational today and follows his same mission. Na Bolom is a Non-profit organization that helps in funding cultural and environmental heritage programs, as well as various other development programs for the indigenous people of Chiapas. Frans Blom was born in 1893 in a wealthy household in Denmark where he lived his childhood to his early twenties. In his mid- twenties, he decided to venture out on his own to make a living and bought a one-way ticket to the Americas in 1919. He moved to Mexico, where he found temporary work supervising Indians and merchandise being transferred. He later secured a job with an oil company in the fall of 1919. In this job, he had the opportunity to lead expeditions into the wilderness and traveled to distant parts of the country. He got aquatinted with Indians, the culture, various climates, and found an interest in the Mayan culture and Archeology.


He later obtained an apprenticeship in 1922, where he would think of ways to preserve, survey, and write reports on the sites he visited. Eventually, his drawings and notes caught the eyes of people at Harvard University, who helped him obtain scholarships to attend the university. At Harvard, he would attain a master in Archeology. Afterwards, he accepted a job at Tulane University. At Tulane University, he would spend much of his time on research and organizing archaeological and ethnographic surveys trips. Some of his notable explorations were through Tabasco, Chiapas, and Southern Veracruz in the 1920’s. On his journey, he came across La Venta, in 1925. Here, he and his colleague, Oliver La Farge, would be the first to write a detail description of the Gulf Coast Olmec center. There findings were a huge importance for the Olmec culture and would be published in “Tribes and Temple”, one of his most well know publications.


He later bought a house in Chiapas in the town San Cristóbal de Las Casas in 1950, where he would stay until he died. Here he and his wife, Gertrude Duby Blom, would make expeditions into the jungle, established a research center for scientific studies, gave aid to indigenous people, especially the Lacandones, and continued publishing his work. Blom was very interested in helping and learning about the indigenous people, and called his house Na Bolom, meaning “the house of the jaguar” in the Tzotzil language. Frans Blom had many adventures that helped contribute to the study of the indigenous people through maps, detailed journals, and his sketches. Frans Blom’s legacy still live on through Na Bloom; the building is still operational and follows the same mission as the founders. Na Bolom helps protect indigenous culture and environmental heritage, as well as aiding the indigenous people of Chiapas, especially the Lacandones.

Images

Na Bolom sign

Na Bolom sign

Frans Blom wanted to give his house a unique name and called it Na Bolom, meaning the “house of the jaguar” in the Tzotzil language. This sign is hung up outside of the building and is significant because Blom fell in love with the indigenous people and founded Na Bolom to be a place that would help aid the indigenous people. Today, it is still a nonprofit organization that helps bring awareness of problems that the indigenous people are facing such as deforestation and climate change. | Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/25/SignNaBolomSanCris.JPG/1280px-SignNaBolomSanCris.JPG View File Details Page

Estoy Floreciendo

Estoy Floreciendo

“Estoy Floreciendo” which means “I am Flourishing”; is an oil painting displayed and for sale in a paint exhibit, called “Volver a nuestras raices” which translates to “ back to our roots” in Na Bolom. This exhibit was created to promote Mayan art and had 10 pieces in the exhibit that deal with cultural, social, environmental factors, and the reality that the Mayans of the 21st century face. | Source: Caleb Zavala View File Details Page

Olmec head

Olmec head

In 1920, Frans Blom organized one of his notably most important expeditions through Tabasco, Chiapas, and southern Veracruz. Frans and his colleague, Oliver La Farge, would be one of the first people to write a detailed description of the Gulf Coast Olmec center. His discoveries on the expedition were very important for the Olmec culture and they would be published in one of his most famous publications. | Source: https://www.farhorizons.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/La-Venta-head-in-VSA-park.jpg View File Details Page

Map by Frans Blom

Map by Frans Blom

This drawing gives a detailed geographical layout of a site in Chiapas and is hung up at Na Bolom in San Cristobal Del la Casa. This drawing is an example of the talent that Frans Blom possessed and is one of the reasons he was able to succeed in archeology. | Source: Caleb Zavala View File Details Page

Artifacts

Artifacts

These are picture of artifacts collected by Frans Blom and are on display at Na Bolom. Blom had many expeditions and collected several antiquities from different regions in Mexico throughout his journeys. | Source: Caleb Zavala View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Caleb A Zavala, “Frans Blom ,” HistoricalMX, accessed November 24, 2017, http://historicalmx.org/items/show/70.

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