Lot 65
  • 65

A Fine Maya Standing Figure, Jaina Late Classic, ca. A.D. 550-950

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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the regal lord of tall stature, garbed in attire as a victorious warrior, a staff or club once in the cupped right hand, his chiseled face with solemn expression, shaved forehead, full lips, closely shorn beard and mustache, and applied nose bridge extension, wearing the xicolli sleeveless vest, loincloth and belt adorned with thick row of shell danglers, his collar of massive peccary tusks centering a large shell, the majestic headdress with wavy brim supporting a cascade of plumed reeds arching behind, and with large medallions in front, his ears covered by jaguar ears, and holding a massive shield fringed by undulating feather band, a long bone and plumed disk at the top, and embossed with a deity face with scrolled brows, mouth curled open and tongue extended, and wearing lunate ear ornaments, areas highlighted with orange and blue pigment.


Acquired in the 1970s


Gerald Berjonneau, Jean-Louis Sonnery, Emile Deletaille, Rediscovered Masterpieces of Mesoamerica, 1985, p. 261, pl. 420
David Deroche, "Monumental Miniatures: The Saul and Marsha Stanoff Collection," Tribal Arts, 32, Autumn 2003, p. 68, fig. 12

Catalogue Note

This mature nobleman is one of the finest examples of the pastillaje Jaina figures. He is a statesman well past the prime of an ideal warrior, but his achieved status is finely portrayed with a mixture of grandeur and humanity. 

Clothing and costume for the Maya were as important for ritual as the acts themselves, symbolizing sacredness, identity, and facilitating the power process through the symbolic associations of the materials. Since virtually nothing remains of the perishable fine cotton and stiffer bark cloth, Jaina figures offer a vision of the magnificent clothing and accoutrements of the ancient Maya. Headdresses of feathers were shown either in continuous arcs, imitating a spread wing, or grouped into threes; the fanning headdress here may be a combination of wood or bamboo elements tipped by feathers, and can be seen as backracks on figures on polychrome vessels (Schele and Miller 1986: pls. 88 and fig. V.9 and b). The sleeveless xicolli is a warrior's vest, here made from thick and dense fabric, and overlaid with the trophy necklace of tusks. Shields, along with a headdress, were part of the key regalia passed in accession ceremonies (see Lady Xok in Lintel 26 of Yaxchilan). This is perhaps the only Jaina figure with an effigy decorated shield, others known are of rectangular form and only adorned with feathers. This ceremonial shield, possibly of stiff leather, is modeled with a supernatural face similar to the Jaguar God of the Underworld, invoking the power and alignment to mythological sources. See Miller and Martin (2004: pls. 110-112) for figures with shields; and Schele and Miller (1986: pl. 99) for the ballplayer who wears the same massive tusk collar.