Property from a Private Collection
MAYA STUCCO BUST OF A DIGNITARY LATE CLASSIC, CIRCA AD 550 - 950
Height: 19 in (48.2 cm)
Generally very good condition for a large sculpture of the type. Areas with strong remains of original red and blue pigment. Areas of cracks and reinforcement overall.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Private Collection, Connecticut, acquired between March 1962 and June 1968
Sotheby's, New York, May 14, 1996, lot 176, consigned by the above
Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 2012, lot 52
Private Collection, acquired at the above auction
The Maya sculpted figures and painted scenes in plaster and stucco as eloquently as they rendered reliefs and freestanding stele in hard stone. Few examples of the prodigious amount of plaster and stucco sculpture have survived the centuries of exposure and erosion.
Stucco sculpture was made from a mixture of lime, gypsum and fine sand, sometimes applied over a mortar and stone armature. The complete sculpture was then painted in colors relevant to the type of deity or figure; this figure retains red and remnants of blue. This dignitary, with a classic elongated nosebridge, wears the courtly attire of turban, large ear ornament and swaggered collar; the torque of the body and turn of his head suggest his rapt attention at a ceremonial event.
See Stierlin, Mexique, Terre des Dieux, Trésors de l'art précolombien, Geneva, 1998, pl. 222, for a stucco figure in a similar posture.