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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Sculptures : Mayan Sculpture of a Woman Carrying a Vessel
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Mayan Sculpture of a Woman Carrying a Vessel - PF.3560
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 6 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) 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. This precious sculpture depicts a female figure carrying a large vessel on her back. The red burnished surface is beautifully rich, and her distinct Mayan physical characteristics such as the heavy lidded eyes and fleshy lips are enticing. She wears a beaded necklace and a loincloth, standing with her knees slightly bent to balance herself carrying a jar. The sculpture shows us an interesting way of carrying a vessel--a strap goes through the handles of the jar and around the figures head. Her arms are raised to the top of her head to hold onto the strap. Perhaps this sculpture shows us an everyday village scene in ancient Meso-America. Is she woman carrying water or other sustenance to her family or is she a participant of a ritual bringing necessary materials to the ritual scene? Although such specifics of the sculpture may remain unknown, we still appreciate its artistic beauty and ancient history. As we look into the sculpture we can let our imaginations run wild, envisioning the ancient Mayan life in the great temple cities. - (PF.3560)


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