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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Art : Mayan Terracotta Mask with Skull Features
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Mayan Terracotta Mask with Skull Features - PF.3554
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 6 th Century AD to 9 th Century AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Mayan
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The summit of the classical age in Ancient Mesoamerica was reached by the Maya in their great temple cities. 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 human form and deities. Used in various rituals and ceremonies, their art embodied rich symbolism. This remarkably sculpted terracotta mask reveals Mayan attributes and symbolism in a dramatic manner. Its beige color of the surface suggesting the color of human bone, the mask carries an impressionable expression. The furrowing eyebrows, bulging eyes in deep eye-sockets, and the high cheekbones accentuated by the open mouth showing teeth expresses the idea of death and the underworld. Perhaps it represents life and death, as ancient Mesoamericans believed in rebirth after death. Two small holes are located on the top of the mask for its functional use; perhaps the mask was used in funerary rituals or was placed on the face of the deceased. Not only does the mask's expressive power delight our eyes but it also affects our emotions. - (PF.3554)


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