Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Maya, ca. 550 to 950 CE. A sizeable terracotta mask depicting an impressive deity - hand-built, skillfully modeled, and richly painted in russet red and sky blue hues - most likely a section from a monumental incensario presenting a dramatic visage with enormous eyes, an anthropomorphic nose, and an open mouth with filed teeth and serpent-like forms slithering from the corners. Adorning his head is an elaborate headdress comprised of vertical elements, perhaps intended to represent feathers, each one painted a saturated sky blue and resolving in red spherical bead-like ornaments. Below his chin is a pointed collar or pectoral. A wonderful piece with a haunting face, eyes staring past the viewer to a world unseen, both mysterious and quite evocative! Size: 13" L x 10" W (33 cm x 25.4 cm); 10.5" H (26.7 cm) on included custom stand.
This elaborate Mayan terracotta mask most likely depicts the sun god Kinich Ahau, designated as god G when referring to the codices. The element kinich refers to the sun-eyed feature that may have once been delineated as scrolled pupils and was used as a royal title during the Classic Period. This connection to kingship is celebrated in the radiating halo-like headdress as well as the blue face paint. God G is usually depicted as a middle aged man with an aquiline nose, spiraled/crossed eyes, and a filed incisor in the upper row of teeth. The headdress shows suggestions of celestial and avian references as the sun god makes its way across the sky. Beyond its rich iconography, signs of the artisan's skilled technique and artistry add to its undeniable value.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be within the age range listed above; if purchased, you will receive a report confirming its age.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Andre Emmerich collection, New York, USA
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Repaired from multiple pieces with areas of touch up to the paint, though a fair amount of original paint has survived. Losses to upper end of headdress/coiffure and other peripheries as shown. Expected surface wear with some abrasions and pigment losses. Tiny TL holes on verso.