Lot 140
  • 140

Veracruz Stone Hacha of a Nobleman Late Classic, circa AD 550-950

80,000 - 100,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • stone
  • Height: 9 7/8 in (25.1 cm)


Jay C. Leff Collection, Uniontown, acquired prior to 1959
Sotheby's, New York, October 10 and 11, 1975, lot 483
Miles J. Lourie, New York, acquired at the above auction
Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 1991, lot 201, consigned by the above
Merrin Gallery, New York
American Private Collection, acquired from the above


Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive CivilizationsCollection of Jay C. Leff, October 15, 1959-January 3, 1960
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, Ancient Art of Latin America from the Collection of Jay C. Leff, November 22, 1966-March 5, 1967 


Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive Civilizations, Collection of Jay C. Leff, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1959, fig. 544
Elizabeth Kennedy Easby, Ancient Art of Latin America from the Collection of Jay C. Leff, New York, 1966, no. 333

Catalogue Note

This head hacha is a defining example of the refined portrait style of the hacha genre. The mature countenance of this nobleman is marked by his solemn and determined expression. His set mouth is framed by sagging cheeks and the recessed eyes were probably once inlaid; the ears are pierced for ornaments and he wears a plain cloth turban secured by an expanding headband of crisscrossed pattern, possibly of net weave.

The Mesoamerican ballgame (ollamaliztli) is among the most important and enduring cultural features of the Pre-Columbian world. The accompanying accoutrements of yokes, hachas and palmas comprise an important category of stone sculpture. Once belonging to Jay C. Leff, the hacha was featured in the exhibitions of this important American collection, recognised for its beauty and the powerful individual depicted.