Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Veracruz culture, Late Classic period, ca. 6th to 8th century CE. A delightful volcanic stone hacha from the Mesoamerican ballgame. It bears the characteristic style associated with classic Veracruz monkey hachas, which generally have prominent features, open mouths, and extended tongues. Monkeys are common in the Mesoamerican lowlands, with the two most common species being the howler monkey and the spider monkey - however, the monkeys depicted on hachas are highly stylized, abstracting the monkey’s essential characteristics. Monkeys were represented often in various art forms, including as stone pedestal sculptures, as mushroom stones, on building decorations, and as clay figurines, whistles, and effigy vessels. Size: 9.05" W x 7.75" H (23 cm x 19.7 cm); 11.95" H (30.4 cm) on included custom stand.
The Mesoamerican ballgame was a ritual event, not just for entertainment (although it would have been that too!), and as a result had elaborate attire and accessories. Stone hachas were not actually used to play the game, but instead were probably worn or carried, hafted onto wooden poles like standards, in ritual processions where the elite sponsors of the game displayed them to demonstrate their wealth - a little like seeing the owners of your local team out on the field after a championship win or on Opening Day.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection
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Intact, with some weathering to the volcanic stone surface commensurate with age. Light deposits on surface.