Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Seated Female Figure

Date:
6th–9th century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica
Culture:
Maya
Medium:
Ceramic
Dimensions:
H. 7 1/8 x W. 5 x D. 3 1/2 in. (18.2 x 12.7 x 8.9cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Musical Instruments
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.373
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
This hand-modeled figurine depicts a stoic woman seated with her legs crossed, hands resting upon knees. She wears an off-the-shoulder, loose tunic and an ankle-length skirt. Her wrists are adorned with cuffs of rectangular beads, while she wears a necklace of spherical ones. She has a simple headband and neatly coiffed hair, as well as large, round ear flare assemblages.
Her facial features exemplify the idealized standards of Maya beauty. Her forehead is high and flat, sloping back slightly. She has heavy-lidded almond shaped eyes with prominent brows, a high Roman nose, and full lips parted gently.
Careful examination of the figure demonstrates that it is modeled fully in the round, including the bottom. Further, there is evidence that it was produced with multiple layers and applications of clay, since the body was modeled inside the garment. The back of the statuette shows a flat back, with openings for a whistle on the proper right shoulder and the back.

Further Reading

Finamore, Daniel and Stephen D. Houston. 2010. Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea. New Haven: Yale University Press and Salem: Peabody Essex Museum. [Pp. 58–61, Pls. 9–16]

Garcia Moll, Roberto. 1994. "Los mayas, arte y memoria." In Beatriz de la Fuente, ed., Mexico en el Mundo de las Colecciones de Arte, Vol. 2. Mexico: D.R. Primera. [See especially p. 39.]

Miller, Mary Ellen. 1975. Jaina Figurines: A Study of Maya Iconography. Princeton: Princeton Art Museum.

Miller, Mary and Simon Martin. 2004. Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya. New York: Thames and Hudson. [Pls. 5, 8, 10-13; also 18web, 19, 41, 42, 44, 53, 57-60, 94-97, & 110-112]

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. 1987. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
[Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, by 1955]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1955, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1956–1978

Miller, Mary Ellen. Jaina Figurines: A Study of Maya Iconography. Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum, 1975.

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.

Garcia Moll, Roberto. "Los Mayas, arte y memoria." In Mexico en el mundo de las colecciones de arte, Vol. 2, edited by Beatriz de la Fuente. Vol. vol. 2. Mexico: D.R. Primera, 1994, p. 39.

Miller, Mary Ellen, and Simon Martin. Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya. New York and San Francisco: Thames & Hudson Inc., 2004.

Finamore, Daniel, and Stephen D. Houston, eds. Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea. Salem and New Haven: Peabody Essex Museum, 2010, pp. 58–61, pls. 9–16.



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