Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Western Yucatan Peninsula, Jaina/Campeche, Maya, Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 850 CE. A stunning example of a hand-built pottery warrior with finely preserved detailing across the composition. Standing atop delineated legs, the proud warrior presents with bare feet exposing incised toes and wears a padded band around his waist while crossing both arms atop his abdomen. An ovoid medallion is centered on his chest beneath sloped shoulders that flank a thick, twisted necklace and discoid earspools indicative of high-status fighters. The characteristic Jaina-style countenance bears slanted, almond-shaped eyes, a petite mouth bearing two rows of teeth beneath an incredibly tall nose, and finely incised bangs beneath a scalloped headdress with a central perforation. The legs, face, and back are elegantly decorated with red-orange powder pigment that stands out against the tan-hued ground, and faint remains of white pigment are visible across the figure as well. A superb example of Jaina figural artistry! Size: 1.9" W x 5.875" H (4.8 cm x 14.9 cm); 7.125" H (18.1 cm) on included custom stand.
Jaina figures, from an island off the Yucatan peninsula, are noted for their lifelike faces and their immense attention to detail. Scholars believe that sculptors modeled these figures' clothing on real clothing worn by the elite during the Late Classic Maya period. These figures likely represented actual people, were produced in Campeche, and then were brought to Jaina Island to be buried with the deceased. Fascinatingly, the people around Jaina are the only people in southeastern Mesoamerica who put human figures into graves. Everywhere else in the region, figures have been found solely in domestic contexts. The Spaniard Diego de Landa, who recorded details of Maya life shortly after the Spanish Conquest, wrote that the artists who created pieces like this one lived lives of religious isolation and ritual - fasting and abstaining.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: ex-Millea Bros, Ltd., Boonton, New Jersey, USA; ex-estate collection of Nancy R. and Myron L. Mayer, New York, New York, USA, acquired in March 1964; ex-Mathias Komor Gallery, New York, New York, USA, inventory no. M 211
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Repairs to both legs and rim of opening behind right arm, with resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Minor nicks to body and head, with fading to original pigment, and light encrustations. Great remains of pigment and nice earthen deposits throughout. Old Komor inventory label on verso. Two TL drill holes: one behind head, and one underneath left shoulder in armpit.