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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Art : Mayan Carved Mace Head
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Mayan Carved Mace Head - PF.6233a
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3" (7.6cm) high x 4.5" (11.4cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Volcanic Stone

Location: United States
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Holding this piece in our hands, we begin to understand why the term “head-breaker” is used as a nickname for these objects. Clearly it would not be an enjoyable experience to receive a blow from this heavy, carved hunk of volcanic stone. Originally attached to a wooden shaft, this device would have been a most deadly weapon. However, considering the great beauty of this work, it was more likely used as a centerpiece in religious ceremonies or sacrificial rituals. Today, we are moved by this piece not out of fear for the damage it is capable of causing, but out of awe for its stunning beauty and expert craftsmanship. As connoisseurs might relish the beauty of an antique gun, one can easily appreciate the quality and artistry this mace head represents. The donut-shape of the head has been decorated with a band of incised glyphs, including a series of faces, perhaps representations of gods, kings, or great warriors. The intricate, detailed carving of the glyphs and faces is simply stunning. This weapon may have been made for wagging war, but it is moreover a work of art. - (PF.6233a)


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