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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Art : Mayan Half Skull/Half Face Mask
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Mayan Half Skull/Half Face Mask - PF.3562
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 6 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7.75" (19.7cm) high x 7.125" (18.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: SOLD
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 terracotta mask depicts a dramatic image of life and death- -half of the face in flesh and the other half in the skull. The flesh part of the face shows an open eye and an open mouth revealing teeth. The other half shows a skull with a hollow eye socket. Moreover, the mask also has earspools and small, round holes for its functional use. Ancient Meso-Americans firmly believed in life, death, rebirth, and afterlife. Even after death, they believed that people experience rebirth following their journey through the underworld. Accepting the natural cycle of human life, the ancient Mayans were not afraid to confront the concept of death. Incorporated in their daily life and rituals, the idea of life and death are often expressed in various art forms. Possibly used in ritual performances, this magnificent mask grabs our attention in an instant. As we look into the artwork, we are invited to confront the inevitable idea of life and death, and we are reminded of an ancient culture and its images that flourished hundreds of years ago. - (PF.3562)


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