Antiquities, artifacts and ancient art by Riverbend Gallery. Specializing in Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian Maya Plate w/ Figure, Ex Sotheby’s

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All Items: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: item # 1167974

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Pre-Columbian Maya Plate w/ Figure, Ex Sotheby’s
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This large and fine Pre-Columbian Maya polychrome plate dates to approximately 550 A.D. – 900 A.D., and measures approximately 11 ¾” across by about 2 ½” deep. The form is that of a shallow dish or deep plate, featuring a flanged rim and ring base. Includes professional acrylic display stand, as shown.

The polychrome decoration exhibits pigments of red, two shades of orange and black/brown, all masterfully employed to depict a finely rendered, important male figure in impressive regalia. This individual is of significant social status, perhaps representing a Maya Lord. He is shown sitting cross-legged on multiple animal skin covered pillows, exhibiting a regal posture, with arms raised outward, gesturing and holding a large beaded necklace.

He is wearing a turban-like headdress, layered loincloth and waist garments of fine materials, fine jewelry, and a huge, elaborate back rack style ceremonial attachment rendered in the form of a large, plumed bird-like head. Interestingly, the bird form of the back adornment is mirrored in the foreground by the rendering of what appears to be a large quetzal bird feather protruding forward in front of his nose. This element may have had symbolic significance, perhaps even relevant to symbolically representing part of the individual’s name.

Condition: Intact overall and in original condition, with a minor, stable stress line extending about 3” inward from the rim. Water-based glue has been employed to stabilize the stress line against the possibility of extending further. The surface of the plate exhibits telltale hallmarks of age and authenticity, including the etchings of root marks, as well as mineral deposits. The area of white splotching visible on the front top lip and about a 5” area on the back is a combination of color leaching and mineral deposits, and is common on Classic Period Maya ceramics as a result of environmental conditions present in the burial context. Otherwise, minor weathering, wear and abrasions overall.

Provenance: Ex Sotheby’s Auction, New York, USA, Sale N08263, 05 December 2006.

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