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Mayan Ceremonial Terracotta Applique of Tlaloc

Mayan Ceremonial Terracotta Applique of Tlaloc


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pottery: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1215119
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This piece is a Mayan terracotta that dates from the Late Classic period, circa 600-900 A.D., and is approximately 6 inches high by 7.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep. This piece has powerful eye appeal, as it shows the Mexican rain god Tlaloc with large round eyes, scrolled upper lip, and exposed tooth row. This piece is a very large applique that was part of a extremely large vessel which may have had several of these applied appliques that ran around the outside of the vessel. There is original white pigment seen over the exposed teeth and round eyes, root marking seen in sections of the piece, and there are light brown and gray earthen deposits seen over the entire piece. The condition of this piece is intact, with little apparent crack fill, and this piece appears to have broken cleanly away from the main body of the vessel. A wall section of this large vessel also forms the backside of the piece offered here. The mix of Mexican and Mayan motifs in the Late Classic period is not uncommon, and another example of a Mayan terracotta with the Mexican rain god Tlaloc can be seen in "Pre-Columbian Art: The Morton D. May and The Saint Louis Art Museum Collections" by Lee Parsons, New York, 1980, no. 318, p. 205. The Mexican rain god Tlaloc has also appeared since the Early Classic period in the Maya zone, and is often related to scenes of "autosacrifice" involving the nobility, in which they self extract and offer their own blood. This "blood letting ceremony", as an offering to the gods, is also a metaphor for rain, although the Maya had their own rain deity, Chaac. The piece offered here may also have been part of a large ceremonial blood letting vessel. In relation to the letting of blood, the Tlaloc deity also appears on war shields, as seen on Mayan terracotta figures. This piece is scarce to rare, and sits on a custom black metal stand. Ex: E. Duncan collection, Stilwell, Kansas, circa 1980's. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: