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Ceremonial Handle (?)

Date:
9th–13th century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Yucatan
Culture:
Maya-Toltec (?)
Medium:
Jade (jadeite/omphacite)
Dimensions:
H. 5 1/2 x 1 1/8 x 1 3/4 in. (14 x 2.8 x 4.5 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1132
  • Description

    In spite of its snarling feline face and incomplete condition—it is broken at what was apparently the top—this is an engaging object, a quality that compensates for the uncertainty surrounding its function. With the head perpendicular to the body, the form of the small sculpture is reminiscent of the serpent columns that originally supported a temple roof at the site of Chichén Itzá in northern Yucatan. Bound with constricting bands and split by carved channels, the segmented body of the beast tapers before joining the head. The face of the creature has large eyes, an open stylized mouth with fangs, and high curled nostrils. Five drilled holes, perhaps for suspension or for the hanging of additional items, connect inside the column above the creature's head. Four smaller holes are worked at right angles along the chin.

  • Provenance

    [Everett Rassiga, New York, until 1965]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1965, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1965–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
313325

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