Mayan Effigy Vessel - PF.3423
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Catalogue: V20
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Mayan
Medium: Terracotta


The summit of the classical age in Ancient Meso-America 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 the human form. Mayan figures very well depict the distinct Mayan physical characteristics such as the high cheekbones, fleshy and hooked nose, heavy lidded eyes, and drooping lower lips. This remarkably sculpted Mayan face displays such attributes. The effigy vessel is a depiction of an old man's face, possibly a representation of a deity. The high cheekbones and hollowness of the sunken cheeks are emphasized to show age and wisdom. Moreover, the fleshy nose and the protruding lower lip add dramatic feelings to the face. As to symbolize years of experience and acquired wisdom, stylized wrinkles give sculptural form to the otherwise flat skin. Wearing a pair of earspools, this elder man appears to hold wisdom and knowledge that only time and experience can bring. Whether he is a deity or a respected dignitary in the Mayan society, his dignity and honorable essence comes through strongly. Looking at this sculpted image is like looking into the face of an Ancient Mayan who perhaps participated in rituals and ceremonies in great temple cities. - (PF.3423)



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