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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Sculptures : Mayan Sculpture of a Man Wearing a Ritual Costume
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Mayan Sculpture of a Man Wearing a Ritual Costume - PF.3184
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high x 4.5" (11.4cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: UAE
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Description
Maya sculptors produced an immense variety of figural types, ranging from highly realistic depictions of humans and animals, to human- like representations of deities. Though absolute masters of monumental architectural sculpture, the Maya artist could turn his talents to smaller items, such as this handsome figure. A sculptor working for an important lord might have been commissioned to produce both small and large figures. Working in a smaller context for a patron's personal enjoyment, the artist was given greater freedom of expression, and the chance to experiment with different forms. Such inventiveness can be seen in this figure that depicts a standing figure wearing a jaguar mask and ornate headdress. With his arms lifted he holds onto the lower portion of the headgear, while the upper section is segmented into three appendages in the shape of jaguar paws. The mask is very realistic, its eyes squinting, its mouth open wide as if about to emit a loud roar. Around the waist a wide belt is tied into a knot with long 'bows' extending horizontally. The figure may be associated with the Jaguar Sun, symbolic of night in the Underworld. This sculpture passes on a tradition of ownership from a vanished age to the present, without loosing any of its power. - (PF.3184)

 

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