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Mirror-Bearer

Date:
6th century
Geography:
Guatemala or Mexico, Mesoamerica
Culture:
Maya
Medium:
Wood, red hematite
Dimensions:
H. 14 1/8 x W. 9 x D. 9 in. (35.9 x 22.9 x 22.9 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1063
  • Description

    Time, insects, and moisture have destroyed most Precolumbian sculpture in wood, but a handful of objects have miraculously survived. This wood figure probably owes its existence to the sturdy dry walls of a chamber, perhaps a tomb, where in ancient times it was placed, protecting it from the tropical environment in which it is said to have been found. The noble bearing of the figure clearly bespeaks a personage of importance. He sits with legs and feet tucked under him and wears a fringed kilt, or hip cloth, tied in place by a fancy belt knotted at the waist. Another belt of the same pattern is worn over the shoulders, stole fashion. Suspended from the neck is a carefully detailed mask, and the ear ornaments are very grand. They consist of three large circular earflares bound together to form a chain that ends in a dramatic, long-nosed profile head. The full, curled-up mustache is unusual. The figure has been dated by the radiocarbon method to the sixth century.

  • Provenance

    John Stokes, New York, until 1962; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1962, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1962–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
313256

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