Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Maya, Classic Period, ca. 250 to 600 CE. A group of four skull-shaped pendants, skillfully carved from a white stone, each one with 4 hand-drilled perforations through the sides for suspension. The skulls are incised with circles and lines to create circular eyes, nose cavities, and toothy grins. These may have been amulets or pendants used for ceremonial rituals! Size of largest: 1" L x .75" W (2.5 cm x 1.9 cm)
Skulls were a popular, if not morbid, motif in much of Maya art. One may ask, does this represent a trophy head? Disembodied heads were a near-universal constant in Mesoamerican imagery for millennia; however, by the Classic Maya period it seems likely that the practice of taking of actual trophy heads, for the most part, had been replaced by a practice of using skulls as the ball in their ballgame. One example of this is in the Popol Vuh, a text recounting the history and mythology of the Kiche Maya of the Guatemalan Highlands, where a decapitated head is used instead of a rubber ball.
Provenance: ex-Dr. David Harner collection, Arkansas, USA, 1950s to 1960s
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Natural pitting of the stone surface. Softening of details on some. Nicks and chips to peripheries. Perforations are filled in by earthen encrustations on 3 and are not wearable. Light mineral deposits on all.