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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Sculptures : Mayan Sculpture of a Seated Deity/Shaman
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Mayan Sculpture of a Seated Deity/Shaman - PF.3561
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 6 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The Maya in their great temple cities reached the summit of the classical age in ancient Mesoamerica. In those temple cities, great artistic expressions such as murals and sculptures flourished. It is during this classical period in which artists refined their skills to represent the human forms, deities, and other symbolic art works. Used in various rituals and ceremonies, their art embodied rich symbolism, laden with complex meanings, which largely remain esoteric. A fine example of the magnificent Mayan sculpture, this beige terra- cotta figure sits with his arms and legs crossed. Such distinct position seems to suggest that perhaps the pose has significance. It is a serene and restful position, which creates a feeling of meditative self-absorption and containment. With its hollow cheeks and sunken eyes, the face of the figure seems to indicate lifetime of experience and knowledge of old age. The figure also shows an indication of earspools and thinly incised hair. Perhaps it is a depiction of a wise elder, or a deceased ancestor. As many Mayan art was used in funerary rituals and ceremonies, this beautiful sculpture may have been an important ritual offering, depicting an image of a wise, endeared person. As we look into the artwork, we are reminded of an ancient culture and its images that flourished hundreds of years ago. - (PF.3561)


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