79
79

PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Maya Double Figure of the Moon Goddess and Companion, Jaina
Late Classic, circa 550-950 AD
Estimate
80,000125,000
JUMP TO LOT
79

PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Maya Double Figure of the Moon Goddess and Companion, Jaina
Late Classic, circa 550-950 AD
Estimate
80,000125,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York

Maya Double Figure of the Moon Goddess and Companion, Jaina
Late Classic, circa 550-950 AD

Provenance

D. Daniel Michel, Chicago, acquired in 1962 (no. 62:085)
Ancient Art of the New World, New York
American Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1991

Exhibited

The Arts Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Collectors, September 20 - October 27, 1963
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, temporary loan, 1966
The Arts Club of Chicago, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, November 15 - December 31, 1982

Literature

The Arts Institute of Chicago, ed., Chicago Collectors, Chicago, 1963, p. 11 (listed), pl. 26
Nicholas M. Hellmuth, 'Maya Clay Sculpture of Pre-Columbian Mexico', Apollo, Vol. CIII, No. 169, March 1976, fig. 7
Nicholas M. Hellmuth, Tikal, Copan, Travel Guide: a General Introduction to Maya Art, Architecture, and Archaeology, St Louis, 1978, p. 166
Everett McNear, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, Chicago, 1982, p. 16, fig. 31

Catalogue Note

The lively paired couples of the Jaina style are a particular genre within the corpus of fine ceramic figurines. The realistic depictions of men and women were connected to their supernatural counterparts, as Miller notes, 'the supernatural universe shaped and defined the expectations of royal women, just as it did for their male counterparts […] In the lives of women we also see the way the living and the ideal toggle back and forth to a religious paradigm' (Miller and Martin, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, 2004, p. 95).

This beautiful youthful female represents one of the two principal female role models, typically identified as the Moon Goddess, sometimes referred to as Ixchel. Her companion is often an aged man representing her companion, the aged Sun God. The Moon Goddess was associated with the role of nurturer and mother, and also with licentious behavior, as suggested in the body language of these joined figures. The embracing yet counterpoised posture shown here may represent a dancing or 'ritual clowning', as Taube observed in his study of Jaina figures as part of a courtly narrative (Taube, 'Ritual Humor in Classic Maya Religion' in Hanks & Rice, eds., Word and Image in Maya Culture, 1989, cited in O'Neil, Engaging Ancient Maya Sculpture, 2012, p. 424).

The female is clothed in a closefitting long huipil pulled to the side by her upraised arm; her striated and cropped coiffure is upswept with a filleted turban secured with a large bow, jewelry including tassel earrings swinging with her movement, a cord necklace and large beads. She tilts her head back as her left hand presses to her chest, and the male's right hand rests on her shoulder. Her companion is minimally clothed in contrast to her, wearing a long sashed loincloth low on his hips and a tufted cape over the shoulders. His leg steps in front and against hers. The couple forms a mold-made whistle, with the heads modeled by hand to achieve the detailed expressions and elaborate headdress ornaments.

For embracing couple figures, see Pillsbury et al., eds., Ancient Maya Art, 2012, p. 420, pl. 79, for the figure at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., and p. 423, fig. 233 for a similar coupled figure at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York