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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Jade : Mayan Jade Celt
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Mayan Jade Celt - PF.4606
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 7" (17.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Jade

Location: United States
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In the imagery surrounding king and nobles, costumes and ornamentation were not only symbols of rank, wealth and prestige, they were also regarded as conduits of sacred power. The Maya king was considered a divine being and therefore the objects he wore during important rituals would themselves acquire supernatural energy; both from the king and the ritual itself. This clever and potent interplay of royal propaganda in the form of extravagant ceremonies, courtly magnificence and mystical ritual worked to enhance and maintain the rule of the Maya kings. One of the most crucial of the "sacred" objects the king wore was the celt. In rows of one or two they hung from the royal belt, immediately recognizable as essential to the kingly regalia. Beautifully carved in jade, dusted with cinnabar for its rich blood red color, this lovely celt shows a king during a great ceremony. He stands on an elevated platform or altar with his clothes swirling about him as if he is about to fly away, or become transformed into a divine being. The sense of rhythm and movement, of light and dark contrasts, of abstract design and intricate symbolism gives the entire celt a feeling of weightlessness and hyper-reality. This is not only a portrait of a great ruler, it is a document of an event which once dazzled and entranced a great nation; never to be seen again, except through the art a great artist has left behind. - (PF.4606)


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