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Lot n° 43

Ɵ Seated figure cross-legged wearing a removable...

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Ɵ Seated figure cross-legged wearing a removable helmet Maya culture, Petén, Guatemala Late Classic, 600-900 A.D. Brown ceramic with remnants of red, blue and yellow pigments H. 12.4 cm with helmet Maya seated figure with removable helmet, brownware ceramic with traces of red, blue and yellow pigments, Petén Guatemala, H. 4 7/8 in with the helmet Provenance : - Private American collection - Acquired by current owner in 1991 - Ancient Art of the New World, New York - Dr. and Mrs. Robert Kuhn, Los Angeles - Alphonse Jax, New York Publications : - Kerr, Justin, A Pre-Columbian Portfolio: An Archive of Photographs, mayavase.com, no. 2299 a and b, added 6/01/2003 - Coe, Michael D. and Kerr, Justin, The Art of the Maya Scribe, Thames and Hudson, 1997, p. 22, no. 13 - Graulich, Michel and Lin Crocker, Unpublished Masterpieces of Pre-Columbian Art, ARTS 135, Boulogne, 1985, fig. 368 - 369 This ceramic statuette of a man seated in a posture worthy of an Indian yogi would seem to represent a wrestler at rest, as the removable helmet on his head would seem to indicate. Representations known for almost fifty years on polychrome pottery belonging to the Tepeu ceramic sphere characteristic of the recent classical period (see vase K500¹) show that these helmeted wrestlers were like "gladiators" boxing with stone balls and sharp objects. These pugilists were clearly not unique to the Maya of Mesoamerica, as they are also represented by the Zapotecs of the present-day Mexican state of Oaxaca. According to a technique more widely used at the same time by the Totonaques of the present Mexican state of Veracruz, the blackness of the figure's hair was rendered by applying chapopote (or Mexican bitumen). His loincloth and anklets with bells are similarly enhanced with black asphalt. JMH 1. This denomination means that the photograph of the object is registered under number 500, in Justin Kerr's corpus of Maya mobile artifacts: http://research.mayavase.com/kerrmaya.html

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