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PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Large Maya Effigy Vessel
Early Classic, 300 - 600 AD
Estimate
75,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
80

PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Large Maya Effigy Vessel
Early Classic, 300 - 600 AD
Estimate
75,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York

Large Maya Effigy Vessel
Early Classic, 300 - 600 AD

Provenance

Robert & Marianne Huber, Dixon, Illinois, acquired prior to 1970
Dr Victor Barcilon, Glenview, Illinois, acquired from the above
Sotheby's, New York, November 21, 1988, lot 104, consigned by the above
Merrin Gallery, New York, acquired at the above auction
American Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1988

Exhibited

Galerie Anita Rutz, Düsseldorf, 1976
The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, November 15 - December 31, 1982

Literature

Everett McNear, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, Chicago, 1982, p. 21, fig. 45

Catalogue Note

The Books of Chilam Balam note that the Yucatan, or ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) was a sign of great abundance and prestige, and the favored offering of tribute from defeated lords to their vanquishers. The high status of the bird as an offering is also attested to in the Dresden Codex, which shows God D, Izamna, presenting a turkey to the Spaniards during Maya New Year ceremonies (Friedel, Schele, & Parker, Maya Cosmos, 1993, p 40), whilst in the Madrid Codex a turkey appears tied to a sacred tree (ibid., p. 91).

Turkey was an elitist food, and effigy vessels depicting turkeys have been found in burial sites alongside depictions of other animals with elite associations, such as jaguars. Depictions of turkeys are fairly rare; for some depicted on codex style vases, see www.mayavase.com, K1001, K2010, & K2011. although the feathers of the turkey are probably among those in ornaments worn by characters depicted in Maya vases, and Ralph Roys noted that turkey feather fans may have been symbols of rulership among the Maya. (Roys, Ritual of the Bacabs, 1965, p. xvii).

The turkey was also believed to have purification powers, and the encrusted deposits on the underbelly of the present vessel may result from its use for the boiling of liquids during ritual and hallucinogenic ceremonies. The rich carved personified serpent-wings imbue this majestic vessel with a special potency through reference to both celestial and earthly manifestations.

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York