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Mayan Pair of Sacred Carved Longbones with Lord Faces: Ex Zollman

Mayan Pair of Sacred Carved Longbones with Lord Faces: Ex Zollman


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1340583
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These two rare Mayan pieces are two carved longbones that date to the Late Classic Period, circa 600-900 A.D. These pieces are approximately 4.3 and 4.6 inches high, and are approximately 1 inch in diameter at the widest point of each piece. These two pieces are intricately carved, and each feature the profile of a Mayan lord, who is seen wearing large jade earflares and an elaborate headdress. These pieces are also published in "The Face of Ancient America: The Wally and Brenda Zollman Collection of Precolumbian Art", Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1988, no. 84 (See attached photo.), and the following is the description of these rare pieces by John Carlson: "The headdresses contain images of long-lipped monsters. At the top of the bone pictured to the right is the profile face of some mammalian creature, possibly a peccary, which does have sky associations. The exact function of such carved bones in not known. They may have been handles for fans, bloodletter perforators, or even musical instruments. Some may also have been used as smoking tubes such as are usually depicted protruding from the forehead of God K. Schele and Miller have also discussed two fine examples of Mayan incised longbones; one is from a jaguar, and the other is a deer tibia. Both images and texts portray dynastic rites. Three additional bones published by Von Winning also present royal profile portraits, and two clearly show the drilled holes for suspension. These carved bones may have been worn as pectorals or attached to the costume for use in some specific, but as yet incompletely known dynastic function. In any case, all such carved bones are clearly high-status objects". The pieces offered here do not have any drilled holes for suspension, but could have, as there appears to be some of the leading edge missing on both ends of both pieces. These pieces are nearly complete, and are in superb condition for a perishable material such as bone, and are some of the best known published examples for the type. In addition, the carved bones offered here may be animal or human, and that fact was also unknown to the academics of the reference noted above, as the description reads: "Carved bone (human?)". The two sacred pieces offered here certainly had royal associations, and were likely used in some sacred regal ceremony and/or religious ritual. These two pieces also sit on a custom display stand, and can easily be removed. Ex: Wally and Brenda Zollman collection, circa 1970's. Published: "The Face of Ancient America", circa 1988. Exhibited: Indianapolis Museum of Art, circa 1988. Exhibited: Indiana University Art Museum, circa 1989. I certify that these pieces are authentic as to date, culture, and condition: