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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Miscellaneous : Pre-Columbian / Mayan / Mayan Stone Hacha
Pre-Columbian / Mayan / Mayan Stone Hacha - PF.2525
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 550 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 10.5" (26.7cm) high x 8.625" (21.9cm) wide
Catalogue: V11
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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A Mayan Hacha, such as this striking example, is a carved slab of stone whose form resembles an axe, with its shape slightly thickening toward the back. Often a Hacha is sculpted to resemble a human head, such as the case with this stone image. Belonging to the paraphernalia of the famous Mayan ball games, the Hacha remains a mystery as to its specific function in the Mayan game. However, it is possible that the Hacha was used for ceremonial purposes, since it is rather difficult to imagine how the weighty stone slab could have been used as practical equipment for the game. Characteristically, this Hacha was imaginatively conceived by the Mayan stone sculptor as a combination of sculpture in the round and a two-dimensional relief carving. Using the thin edge of the Hacha as the centerline of the face, a complete head was then carved, with all the background cut away in the same fashion as sculpture in round. However, the thinness of the slab precludes the fullness of a three-dimensional form and basically the image is made up of two stunning silhouetted profiles. In this dynamic image, skillful modeling of the individual's face, especially the soft curves of the figure's high cheekbones and arched eyebrows adds a complex dimensional quality to the silhouette that truly evidences the Mayan sculptor's ability to manipulate this solid medium. At first glance this Hacha may appear to be simple rendering of a human face, however close examination reveals a complexity of execution as well as an intrinsic primal spirit that touches our sensibilities in a most compelling manner. - (PF.2525)


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