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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Art : Mayan Sculpted Vessel in the Form of a Head
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Mayan Sculpted Vessel in the Form of a Head - PF.2310
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 550 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 1.875" (4.8cm) high x 2" (5.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Severe anatomical ailments that have afflicted mankind throughout time are often poignantly depicted in the art. Pottery from the Moche culture depicts the painful results of bone disease, while effigy pipes of the Iroquis portray human figures suffering the debilitating effects of tuberculosis. Ancient coins portray rulers with a severely swelled neck, the results of a goiter. But in no instance is the portrayal of disease more touchingly depicted than on this small Mayan vessel. Here, the ancient artist has deftly sculpted a figure that suffers from palsy. The left side of his face bears witness to the affects of his disordered nervous system. The eye swells shut and sadly droops; his nose is skewed left, while his faint bittersweet smile forms an exaggerated curve. The stylized rendering of cheeks further enhances his lamentable visage. However, through all these evidences of suffering, a quiet dignity prevails. The Ancient Mayan artist who sculpted this figure most certainly had a sensitivity that at once felt and understood the individual whose personage is so powerfully portrayed. His timeless dignity still touches us today. - (PF.2310)


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