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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world


Tree of Life 2015

RCIN 99768

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The Tree of Life is an ancient symbol used across pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. These pottery sculptures originally depicted key figures and symbols of indigenous Mayan, Mixtec and Aztec religion, but after the arrival of European Catholics they were adapted to represent the Garden of Eden. In this form they were used as incense burners and teaching aids. Today, the Tree of Life remains prominent in Mexican popular art and is reproduced in an ever-expanding range of media and styles.

The Queen appears in this Tree of Life dressed in yellow, with her official residences, uniformed Guardsmen and Westminster Abbey around her.

It was presented to Queen Elizabeth II by President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico during his State Visit to the United Kingdom, 3–5 March 2015.