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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Sculptures : Mayan Sculpture of a Seated Woman
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Mayan Sculpture of a Seated Woman - PF.3559
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 6 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) 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 small terracotta figure sits with her hands placed on her belly. Her seated position and her sweet image emanate her gentle disposition. She is seated in a serene and restful position, which creates a feeling of feminine charm and motherly kindness. With her head slightly raised, she appears as if she is wishing for fertility, a chance to carry a life within her. She also wears large ear-flares, bracelets, and a beaded necklace to enhance her charm. Small in scale, such beautiful sculpture may have been a fertility fetish item or a ritual offering. Ancient Mayans recognized the magic of fertility that produces life. Moreover, because they believed in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, the images of fecundity are prominent in their art. As beautiful as this sculpture is, their desire for fertility was probably very ardent. We look into the artwork we are reminded of an ancient culture and its images that flourished hundreds of years ago. - (PF.3559)


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