Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Hand Hacha

4th–7th century
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz
H. 7 1/16 x W. 5 1/2 x D. 5 in. (18 x 14 x 12.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
Not on view
In depicting human hands, this object represents a departure from the frequent hacha subject matter of a human or animal head. Similarly, the three-dimensionality of this stone ballgame sculpture is in contrast to the more common flattened and pointed shape that gives the hacha ("ax" in Spanish) its name. The artist has utilized incised lines to delineate the anatomy of the hands and carved depressions to depict fingernails. The hands appear closely fisted and placed back to back. The hands suggest they are bound like those of a captive or sacrificial victim, relating this object to the theme of sacrifice that predominates in ballgame sculpture of the El Tajín region.
[Matthias Komor, New York, until 1962]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1962, on loan to the Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1962–1978

Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, 586.

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