Ancient Mesoamerica


Material Information

Ancient Mesoamerica selections from the University Gallery Collection
Physical Description:
64 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Scott, John Frederick, 1936-
Brevard Art Center and Museum
University of Florida -- University Gallery
University of Florida -- Center for Latin American Studies
University Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Indian pottery -- Exhibitions -- Mexico   ( lcsh )
Indian pottery -- Exhibitions -- Central America   ( lcsh )
Céramique précolombienne -- Catalogues d'exposition -- Amérique centrale   ( ram )
Céramique précolombienne -- Catalogues d'exposition -- Mexique   ( ram )
Art précolombien -- Catalogues d'exposition -- Mexique   ( ram )
Art précolombien -- Catalogues d'exposition -- Amérique centrale   ( ram )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:


Bibliography: p. 16-19.
Statement of Responsibility:
by John F. Scott.
General Note:
"Exhibiting institutions The University Gallery ... The Brevard Art Center and Museum."
General Note:
Presented by the University Gallery and Center for Latin American Studies.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 187344282
isbn - 0813008824
lcc - F1219.3.A7 S3 1987
System ID:

Full Text

Ancient Mesoamerica:
Selections from the
University Gallery Collection


Cover: Catalogue #65

Ancient Mesoamerica:
Selections from the
University Gallery Collection


/ / 7, 3



University of Florida, Gainesville
June 1-July 12, 1987


Melbourne, Florida
April 23-June 5, 1988

15 Northwest 15th Street
Gainesville, Florida 32603
Copyright 1987 by The Board of Regents of the State of Florida
Printed in the U.S.A.
ISBN 0-8130-0882-4



The University Gallery and
the Center for Latin American Studies

Ancient Mesoamerica:
Selections from the
University Gallery Collection

by John F. Scott

-College of Fine Arts
University of Florida, Gainesville 32611


Over a period of twenty years the University Gallery has been fortunate
to attract the beneficent support of numerous collectors of Pre-Columbian
art. This support has lent strength and direction to our holdings and, as is not
uncommon, has resulted in a fine collection. Only two pieces purchased by
the University Gallery are to be found in Ancient Mesoamerica: Selections
From The University Gallery Collection, an enlightening comment on the
quality of the works given to us. This particular exhibition owes much of its
character to the astute eye and generosity of a group of exceptional donors.
In 1974, the late Mr. Irvin Ebaugh, president of Bruning Paint Company,
Ft. Lauderdale, gave the University Gallery a sizable collection of Pre-
Columbian ceramics and ethnological objects from Costa Rica, Guatemala,
and Mexico. We are pleased to include in this exhibit selections of Chupicuaro
and Maya pottery from Mr. Ebaugh's gift.
In 1973, the University Gallery received a generous gift of Pre-Columbian
art from Dr. and Mrs. A. H. Spivack in honor of Professor Phillip Ward. Over
the years Mrs. Spivack has continued to enrich our Pre-Columbian collections
with numerous gifts in memory of Dr. Spivack. In 1985 she fulfilled a com-
mitment to give her entire Pre-Columbian collection to the University Gal-
lery, immeasurably enhancing our ability to present this exhibition.
Our last donors wish to remain anonymous. However, it can be disclosed
that their collection came to the University Gallery through their association
with Dr. John F. Scott, associate professor of art. This collection of exclusively
Mesoamerican pieces provided the impetus for this exhibition and reveals our
anonymous donors as knowledgeable collectors.
An outstanding collection is the strength of any exhibition; however, it is
the curator who shapes and guides the material, enlightening and providing
us with an increased understanding of the art we are viewing. I would like to
express my sincere appreciation to Dr. John F. Scott, who, with great dedica-

tion, energy, and humor, has ably curated this exhibition. From the original
conception of this exhibition Dr. Scott encouraged his students to participate
in researching our collection and throughout his essay repeatedly credited
their findings. From selecting the pieces in this exhibition, to researching and
writing this catalogue, he has inspired confidence and respect for his profes-
sional skills.
The University Gallery is pleased to share this collection with the Brevard
Art Center and Museum. I thank my colleagues Robert Gabriel and David
Swoyer for their interest in presenting this exhibition.
Ancient Mesoamerica: Selections From The University Gallery Collection
marks yet another successful collaboration between the University Gallery
and the Center for Latin American Studies, renewing and sustaining our
association. We are grateful for the support received from the center's direc-
tor, Dr. Terry McCoy, and the assistance of his fine staff.
I would like to thank President and Mrs. Marshall Criser, Provost and
Mrs. Robert Bryan, and Dean and Mrs. Joseph Sabatella for their support of
our program. Phillip Martin, director of University Presses of Florida, and his
staff have provided invaluable assistance, as has our loyal friend and editor
Myra Eisenberg. Dr. Michael Kampen and Dr. Prudence Rice generously
consulted with Dr. John Scott when needed.
Finally, I would like to thank my loyal staff without whom this exhibition
would not be possible. Ella Campbell, Sue Davis, Estella Lackey, Pat
Pasqualin, Emma Sordo, John Lockwood, James Powell, Ian Breheny, Stacia
Payne, Callie Neal and Mark Wallace are all a pleasure to work with and
perform their duties admirably.

Ruth K. Beesch
Acting Director
University Gallery


1. Las Cebollas
2. Ixtlin del Rio
3. Etzatlin
4. San Juanito
5. Ameca
6. Thxcacuesco
7. Comala
8. Ortices
9. Pihuamo
10. Cerro Encantado
11. Chupicuaro
12. Tila

13. Teotihuacdn
14. Tenochtitlin
15. Cuicuilco
16. Tlapacoya
17. Las Bocas
18. Mezcala
19. El Tajin
20. Remojadas
21. El Zapotal
22. Dicha Tuerta
23. Monte Albin
24. San Lorenzo

25. La Venta
26. Palenque
27. Bonampak
28. Uaxactfin
29. Tikal
30. Zaculeu
31. El Quich6
32. Cobin
33. Tiquisate
34. Cotzumalhuapa
35. Escuintla
36. Copan

37. Usulutin
38. Barton Ramie
39. Lamanai
40. Becdn
41. Champot6n
42. Jaina Island
43. ChocholA
44. Kabah
45. Sayil










Professor John F. Scott, Ph.D.
Department of Art,
University of Florida

Objects from the permanent collection of the University Gallery pre-
sented in this exhibition derive from various Pre-Columbian cultures of
Mesoamerica. By Pre-Columbian we mean that which predates the arrival of
Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards to those American lands that were
soon to become colonies of the Spanish Crown. Two areas of high culture
were flourishing when the conquistadors arrived: that dominated by the
Aztecs on the North American continent and that dominated by the Incas on
the South American continent. These civilizations, empires in their own
right, were the culmination of about three thousand years of evolution from
simple village cultures to full state systems with absolute rulers. The Aztecs of
the Late Postclassic (A.D. 1325-1520), who, according to their own origin
myths, were relatively recent barbarians in the northern deserts, had adopted
the culture of more settled peoples. To the Aztecs, the most important of these
were the Toltecs, whom they considered the inventors of all the civilized
crafts, such as metal-casting, painting, lapidary, and featherwork. The Ibl-
tecs, in turn, were relative latecomers to the agricultural civilization, belong-
ing to what we now call the Early Postclassic period (A.D. 950-1200). But
preceding even the Toltecs were numerous other civilizations, encompassing a
rich diversity of cultures and sharing many similar bases; in essence, they all
belonged to the Mesoamerican cultural area. In many senses, Mesoamerica
was as complex as Europe, with cultures as different as Russia's and Portu-
gal's and a time span ranging from Stonehenge to the atomic age yet exhibit-
ing shared characteristics, such as religion, race, political organization, and
sense of destiny.
Geographically, Mesoamerica can be delimited by the central and south-
ern parts of modern Mexico and the Maya area, encompassing all of Guate-
mala and Belize (formerly British Honduras) and western Honduras and El
Salvador. Culturally, Mesoamericans shared a basic belief system which taught
that the world had been created several times in the past, had been destroyed
for the insufficiency of earlier man-who had been created from various
elements-and had been re-created in the current era through the blood sac-
rifice of the gods, who fed the sun their blood so that it could light the earth
once again. Men, who this time were created of maize, the basic foodstuff of
agricultural Mesoamerica, were obligated to repay this blood debt to the
gods. They did this by sacrificing their own blood, either through selective
penitential bleeding or by human sacrifice, especially of still beating hearts,
which would be offered up to the sun. A special class of religious practition-

ers, called priests, performed the designated rituals. These rites were usually
conducted atop specially built platforms, which we simplify by calling pyra-
mids, although natural features such as mountains and caves were equally
proper sites.
Mesoamerica experienced a long period of development. Beginning with
its original definition as an agricultural area about 5000 B.C., the region
distinguished itself from the surrounding hunting and gathering cultures
which still followed the aboriginal Archaic lifeway. An important man-made
material was provided in the Archaic (around 2500 B.C.) with the invention
of pottery, a medium that encouraged manipulation into art forms. Like all
Pre-Columbian wares, the vessels were made primarily by coiling without
the use of the potter's wheel; they could be burnished with a stone to give the
surface a lustrous shine (no true glaze was used before the Spanish Conquest)
and were then fired in a pit. When oxygen was reduced, the pottery would be
blackened or gray, depending on the amount of oxygen permitted to enter.
When much oxygen was permitted to enter, the vessels would fire to a light
buff to red.
Chupicuaro pottery, although later (500-100 B.C.), reflects the simple
forms produced by village potters in precivilized times, when the life-style was
similar to that of Neolithic Europe. Simple shapes (#6 and #7) resemble those
of the earlier periods at the beginning of the Preclassic. Gourds, which may
have preceded pottery as containers, lent their shapes to #13 and to some
Classic Maya vessels: #56, the gourdlike tecomate, and the gadrooned #69, an
abstraction of a gourd form.
Mesoamerica's high culture became most distinctive around 1150 B.C.
with the appearance of the "mother culture," the Olmec. Although now uni-
versally recognized as at least an advanced chiefdom, some believe the cul-
ture deserves the designation of a true civilization. The Olmec produced large
public works, including huge earthwork platforms and delimited plazas in
ceremonial centers; an incipient writing system, which could keep count of
time and record place-names; long distance trade for rare raw materials such
as jade; craft specialists who could transform these raw materials into art and
functional objects; and a ruling class that coordinated all these activities.
The Olmec ruling class apparently believed it was specially protected by a
divine jaguar. The deity's presence was made evident not only in numerous
realistic and abstracted images of jaguars but also in representations of half-
jaguar children. The earliest piece in our collection (#1) exhibits jaguar at-
tributes in the thick-lipped, downturned mouth, the drooping, almond-
shaped eyes, and the pear-shaped head. Such stylization appears in the
smallest pottery figurines as well as in the largest colossal basalt heads. These
Olmec traits appear from the presumed Olmec heartland in the southern
Gulf coast up to the central high plateau of Mexico, over to the western states
of MichoacAn and Guerrero, and down to the Maya country, including mod-
ern Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.


The presence of considerable pieces of Olmec jade has been reported in
the West Mexican state of Guerrero. It suggests-although it does not prove-
that the leaders in the Gulf coast heartland were trading with the natives of
Guerrero for jade and other fine greenstone. Obviously, they prized these
minerals, as did their Aztec descendants, much to the chagrin of Cort6s, who
would rather have received gifts of gold. Perhaps the Mesoamericans valued
jade so highly because its color seems to embody the essence of water and
growth-fertility (to use a much abused word)-magically trapped within
the stone. The water association is effectively suggested by the clarity of the
blue-green jade favored for high-quality objects and by its coolness to the
touch; the common axehead shape was particularly pleasant to hold. The
Olmec buried vast quantities of greenstone, which must have been imported,
in their ceremonial center of La Venta. Certainly the stone would have been
precut to approximate its finished shape before it was transported on human
backs across the fragmented terrain of Mesoamerica, with its mountains,
chasms, rivers, and swamps. I have proposed elsewhere (Scott 1976) that the
preworking of heavy raw materials, such as basalt and greenstone, in the
land of their source created a local specialized industry which seems to have
survived the extinction of the Olmec demand around 500 B.C. Our blocked-
out effigy axe (#2) from the Mezcala culture strongly suggests the preliminary
rough-sawn treatment. Greenstone was probably rough-sawn, using thick
fibers embedded with grains of hard stone; finishing touches were added by
Olmec masters who used more specialized tools, such as drills, which Mezcala
stoneworkers did not employ. Whether the jade was worked by provincials or
courtiers, unlimited time and great pressure were required to wear down this
hardest substance known to Pre-Columbian mankind.
The village cultures of north-central Mexico continued the production of
small solid figurines and monochrome pottery into the Late Preclassic (500-
100 B.C.), after the disappearance of the Olmec culture's influence on the
southern half of the Central Mexican highlands. A wide cultural continuum
identified by McBride (1969: 33-41) shows similarities in figurine styles, ce-
ramic shapes, and decoration. This area of shared traits extended from the
State of Hidalgo in the east, across the central Valley of Mexico (most strongly
associated with Ticomin and Cuicuilco sites), west into Michoacin and the
Lerma River valley of Guanajuato and Jalisco into the southern Zacatecas
border area, and down to the Coahuayana River valley, which empties into
the Pacific on the Michoacan-Colima border (see #25). Prior to that time,
some bichrome painting had been applied to the vessel surface, but it was
often put on after firing, making it impermanent and soft in appearance. In
the Late Preclassic, within the broad tradition of which Chupicuaro was the
center, prefired multicolored painting was introduced, and it resulted in
brighter hues and stronger contrast, culminating at Chupicuaro itself in
Black Polychrome: a strong red paint on pale buff with outlines accentuated
by lustrous black (#10). Some vessels were painted with a resist technique: a
waxy substance was applied to the already fired surface, the piece was retired

in a reduced atmosphere, and the unwaxed areas were then smudged, giving
them a painted black appearance (#8 and #13). Excavations revealed that
these vessels were placed in burials as offerings accompanying extended skele-
tons (grave lots documented in Weaver 1969: Appendix). Almost all burials
had approximately the same number of ceramic offerings, suggesting that the
people made no major distinction by class. Like the earliest Mesoamericans,
they were essentially an egalitarian village society with burials in a cemetery
near the houses. As Muriel Porter Weaver, the site's excavator, writes, "The
Chupicuarefios who buried their dead along the summit of El Rayo Hill were
typical farmers of maize, squash, and beans, who already knew how to con-
trol the modeling, decoration, and firing of pottery vessels and figurines"
(1969: 8).
During the Preclassic and into the Protoclassic, Chupicuaro and the far-
ther West Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit produced ceramic
figure sculptures for their needs and cultural expression. In an arc through
these three Western states, elaborate tombs were made of a deep shaft and
lateral hiamhper into which grieving families depnitpdr nnmerni, offerings of W
shell (Uacquired from the Gulf enast of MpYie'n), stnna points, and pottery
vessels-including effigy jars and freestanding sculptures of animals and hu-
mans. In the 1960s, the long-held belief that these sculptures merely signified
figures from daily life-a kind of Pre-Columbian genre-came under attack.
Instead, Peter Furst (1966) proposed that the rich shamanistic culture of the
nearby Huico~nayarit highlands could have extended ack
the time these sculptures were created and could hel explain the meaning o$
tTie individual figures. Ethnically, the Huichol and the Cora, whose lan-
guages belong to the large Uto-Aztecan linguistic family to which Nahua-
the language of the Aztec-belongs, are the most likely descendants of the
makers of the West Mexican tombs and their art. We cannot be certain, since
that tradition died out long before the Spaniards left us historical records of
the Indian tribes in the area. Other possible candidates, never mentioned, are
the speakers of Otomi-related languages in the heart of the shaft-tomb arc
west of Lake Sayula (Brand 1943). The makers were certainly not Tarascan, a
tenacious tribal designation placed on these objects long ago because the
Tarascan empire had briefly conquered half the area from their highland
stronghold to the east in MichoacAn.
The evolution of West Mexican ceramic art remains one of the last mys-
teries of Mesoamerican prehistory. The popularity of the figurines had for a
long time created a thriving business for moonlighting farmers who could
find unopened tombs. To date, no unlooted tombs containing the distinctive
figure styles have been found save those in the atypical northeastern Jalisco
region, which produced the so-called Zacatecas figures, radiocarbon-dated
A.D. 150 80 (Bell 1974: 152); none is represented in our collection. A near
approximation was made in Jalisco by reconstructing the contents of a large
tomb in Etzatlan, in which many supine skeletons radiated in a circle, their
feet meeting in the center. The pottery figures from the tomb were recovered

immediately and now are exhibited in the Los Angeles County Museum of
Natural History. These figures represent two styles, named for the character-
istic pottery colors-San Sebastian Red and El Arenal Brown-and have
been correspondingly assigned two quite different clusters of radiocarbon
dates, obtained from the shell in the tomb; the dates average 130 B.C. and
A.D. 330 (Kan et al. 1970: 32). Based on the simplified, heavy proportions,
the slit eyes, and the numerous deposits of black manganese dioxide spots on
the pottery surface, the San Sebastian Red style (#32) was assigned to the
earlier date cluster. More complicated composition and elaborate painting
characterized the El Arenal Brown figures, which have pigment-filled
eyesockets; this style seems very close to that associated with IxtlUn del Rio,
Nayarit (#35), and so we have dated it accordingly. The Ameca Gray figures
(#36) were considered stylistically intermediate. Their more naturalistic
bodies and faces, with fleshy eyelids over pellet eyeballs, relate to another
looted tomb from Las Cebollas, southwestern Nayarit, the obsidian of which
was dated A.D. 115 100 (Furst 1966: 140). The Chinesca style derives its
name from a common Mexican name for children with flat, smooth-featured
Asian-like faces; hence, chinesca, or Chinese-like, in Spanish. Arguments
that the stylistic differences reflect only regional variation and result from
several ethnic groups depositing their own pieces into the tombs do not take
into account the inevitability of some stylistic shift within one region during
the proposed five-hundred-year span of the shaft-tomb tradition.
In the southern half of the West Mexican arc of shaft and chamber tombs,
no such tombs have been excavated. Still, Isabel Kelly, active in the archaeol-
ogy of Colima for over forty years, has distinguished two phases within the
shaft and chamber tomb tradition (1980: 3-8); originally she had designated
only one phase, named Ortices. Still assigned to Ortices are most solid figu-
rines; the "gingerbread lady" (#14), the pellet warrior (#15), and the phallic
figure (#16) are in this category. The last two are hand-modeled in active
postures. The large woman (#25) on a four-legged stool, which is always a
symbol of prestige and status in Pre-Columbian America, has the dusky rose
color and slit eyes typical of this phase and relates in proportion and eye
treatment to the San Sebastian Red figures from Nayarit-Jalisco. Her
Coahuayana style has been associated with Chupicuaro, with which it is
probably contemporary (McBride 1969: 41). Kelly dates the now more nar-
rowly defined Ortices phase "to the centuries just prior to and just following
the beginning of the Christian era, although eventually it may have to be
pushed back in time" (1980: 6). Her invitation to place it earlier has already
been accepted by Jacki Gallagher (1983: 31) based on parallels between sty-
listically related northern Andean art to both Ortices phases and to the subse-
quent Colima phase, called Comala. Gallagher has Comala begin about 300
B.C., but I will compromise by making the transition about 100 B.C., at the
beginning of the Mesoamerican Protoclassic (100 B.C.-A.D. 250). To the
Comala phase, which Kelly (1980: 6) has end about 500 A.D., are now as-
signed all the large burnished red figures (such as #23), the eyes of which are


flat and outlined, a feature that connects these figures to the IxtlAn and
Arenal styles of Nayarit-Jalisco. After this period, more emphatic Classic
Mesoamerican influence began to be felt, especially from the powerful Teoti-
huacAn culture. Paradoxically, the figurine tradition in West Mexico ceased
abruptly (Kelly 1980: 8), although that was not the case in Central and East-
ern Mexico.
Even before the dawn of the Classic period (A.D. 250-950), Teotihuacin
had provided the final, decisive attribute for civilization in Mesoamerica:
urbanism. At its apogee, the city reached a greater population density than
any other city of this time-the middle of the first millennium A.D. -except,
perhaps, some cities in China. The great city of Teotihuacan dorhinated
Mesoamerica from the fourth century through the sixth. Stylistic features
such as the trapezoidal face-geometrically simple but never rigid or lacking
organic essentials-can be found in Oaxaca (#45) and Veracruz (#47) as well
as in Guerrero and the Maya area (faint and awkward reflections in #4 and
#79). One vase (#64) illustrates a pair of Maya versions of the Mexican rain
god Tlaloc, who was introduced into the region by the Teotihuacanos. The
distinctive lidded tripod (#44) similarly appears in many areas, especially
south-central Veracruz and both highland and lowland Guatemala.
Central Veracruz provides the outstanding ceramic figure sculpture dur-
ing the Classic period (A.D. 250-950) in Mesoamerica. Excavations at the site
of Remojadas (Medellin 1960) reveal that the tradition began during the Late
Preclassic (500-100 B.C.) with small hollow figurines but culminated in a
wide range of forms, both naturalistic and abstract, large and small, during
the Classic. Most recognizable is #46, with overtones of Teotihuacan facial
style, and its distinctive chapopote decoration, created by mixing asphalt and
six vegetable resins to produce the lustrous and nearly indestructible black
paint (Belt 1971: 39). Remojadas also initiated the smiling figure type (#52),
which later had its fullest development in the humid Papaloapan River valley
to the south. Here molds were used for both face and body to ensure that
headdresses, chest bands, and loincloths all bore recognizable features associ-
ating them with various deities in the Mesoamerican pantheon. Mold-made
figurines (like #74 and #75), characteristic of the western Maya area, have
recently been interpreted as deities in human guise, such as the young moon
goddess or the old lord of the underworld. Figurines of this type have been
recovered from tombs on the mortuary island of Jaina, off the east coast of
the Yucatan. From south-central Veracruz come the monumental ceramic
effigies, some life-sized, which were first identified at Cerro de las Mesas
(Drucker 1943). More recently, an enormous ossuary cache containing laugh-
ing-face figurines, bones, and monumental ceramic sculptures was found at
El Zapotal (Torres Guzmin 1972). Heads #47 and #48 and mask #51 were
once parts of such colossal figures, which generally can be interpreted as deity
impersonators, who usually were sacrificed on the feast day of the god.
The ball game provides another unifying feature of Mesoamerican cul-
ture. While the greatest elaboration is found in Classical Central Veracruz,

there is evidence the game was played in TeotihuacAn courtyards, using
markers decorated with Classic Veracruz scrolls. In Veracruz, special equip-
ment was made of stone; although some maintain these are just surrogate or
ritual objects, I believe the belts (known as yokes), at least, were actually
worn during the ball game. The yokes were used to hit the solid rubber ball
back toward the opposing player; padlock-shaped handstones and thigh and
knee padding were optional equipment. In Mesoamerica, widespread prohi-
bition against the player's hands touching the ball made the hips and thighs
the major points of contact. A Huastec figurine (#53) from the area directly
north of Veracruz shows a player holding a rubber ball and wearing a yoke.
Maya ballplayers are well known, too; the shell silhouette (#71) has been
identified as a ballplayer. The people of West Mexico also participated in the
ball game; a large Jalisco figure in the University Gallery collection (C-82-91-
UFG, not included in this exhibition) represents a man holding up a ball
ready to begin play. During the Classic era these ball games were played in
stone courts with markers embedded in the playing surface to define clearly
which quarter of the court the play was in. The ball game represented in
microcosm the cyclical drama of the sun-or other astral bodies like Venus-
rising by means of the gods' exertions and self-sacrifice, kept shining by man-
kind's similar efforts, and eventually falling to earth when man's efforts were
not sufficient. The ball game is an allegorical condensation of the nature of
earthly existence. Inevitable tragedy was built in, since the game could only
be lost, for ultimately a player would fail to return the ball. When the ball
representing the heavenly body fell to earth and was symbolically taken into
the underworld, it could be revitalized only by the blood of one of the players
sacrificed by decapitation or heart removal. The possibility of winning was
introduced in the Postclassic, when ball courts became equipped with stone
rings through which the ball could (with difficulty) be hit. When the game
could thus be ended on a positive note, it became more secular and therefore
less significant, although it was still being played when Cort6s arrived.
Southeastern Mesoamerica-the Yucatan Peninsula, Chiapas State, Gua-
temala, Belize, and western Honduras and El Salvador-was inhabited by
the many subgroups of the Maya. This large ethnic group first flourished in
the southern highlands and Pacific slope during the Preclassic era, recalled in
our collection only by bowl #56, which preserves some characteristics of a
widespread tradeware originally from eastern El Salvador. In the Early Clas-
sic era, the highlands and adjoining Pacific slope received a heavy influx of
cultural influences from Teotihuacin, including immigration of Nahua
speakers known as the Pipil (Borhegyi 1965: 20). High artistic achievement in
the service of the rulers, such as portrait stelae with Long Count dates, initi-
ated by the southern Maya during the Preclassic, ceased in the highlands but
flourished in the central Maya area of northern Guatemala and the southern
YucatAn. Rulers were also represented in the stucco high-relief decorations on
building facades (#76), often with their tutelary deities about them (#77).
Polychrome painted pottery became the greatest ceramic achievement of Pre-

Columbian America; artists and their patrons vied to produce beautiful and
innovative depictions of scenes reflecting their courtly and ritual life.
The last decade has produced an explosion of scholarship on Maya poly-
chrome vases, with predictions that we will soon be able to identify individ-
ual painters as we have already done for the other great ceramic pictorial
tradition, the black and red painted vases of Iron-Age Greece. While we
await a Beazley to give us a corpus of vase painters for the Maya, Dr. Francis
Robicsek, a North Carolina heart surgeon with an enthusiastic avocation for
the Maya culture, has provided a tentative list of some master painters of the
Classic central Maya (1981: 237-50).
The subjects depicted on Maya polychrome vases have received intensive
study since 1973, when Michael Coe identified a "Primary Standard Text" of
the hieroglyphs usually circling the top of cylindrical vases. Although they
are not yet readable, Coe suggests the glyph bands were funerary charms
intended to ensure the deceased a safe journey into the underworld realm. He
proposed also that all the subjects represented on the pictorial pottery were
funerary in content. Many of these illustrated mythological scenes involving
hero twins are preserved in literary form by the Popol Vuh, a sixteenth-cen-
tury Quich6 Maya manuscript. Our vase #68 may represent these hero twins.
Robicsek (1981: 13) has proposed other lost texts that he believes can be re-
constructed in part by observing common themes in a group called Codex-
style vessels-white vases with black drawings. While many scholars have
not completely supported it, the theory that all vessels have underworld asso-
ciations has revealed the extent of the supernatural in what had been consid-
ered genre scenes-the same error made in interpreting West Mexican funer-
ary figurines. Mythological creatures represented on painted Maya vases in
our collection include the composite Water Bird (#59 and #60), the dragon
associated with the supreme god Itzamni (#70), and the profile heads of God
K, the lord of the underworld (#65). The importance of sacrifice has also
been made evident by recent research (Schele and Miller 1986). Our own
collection has two vases that depict an enema ritual (#62 and #63). Although
originally explained as an efficient way of absorbing hallucinogenic drugs
into the bloodstream (Furst and Coe 1977), the practice may also be a varia-
tion of the painful blood-drawing ritual in which evidence of the self-sacrifice
is preserved in a vessel placed before the person making the offering to the
gods; or it could be a self-purification rite, intended to cleanse oneself before
undertaking an important ritual.
The interpretation of Maya glyphic writing has seen a similarly intensive
effort of scholarship since 1960. At that time, the late Tatiana Proskouriakoff
deciphered some patterns of dates on stelae at a central Maya site; she sug-
gested that they represented important milestones in the life of the local
rulers. Since then, dynastic lists have been made for most major Maya city-
states. The Maya were the only Pre-Columbian people who could express
complete thoughts by written syllabic phonetic signs. Reading of glyphs,
however, involves not only a basic syllabary and knowledge of the contempo-


rary Maya language spoken around the city that produced the writing but
also knowledge of all Maya dialects, any one of which could be drawn upon
to supply synonyms for words in the city's own dialect. In addition, scribes in
each workshop strove to surpass those of other workshops by their ingenuity
in creating new glyphic combinations. They seemed not to want to write the
same word the same way twice; instead, they used pictographs one time,
syllabic equivalents another, full-figure glyphs the third-all of these with
infixes of additional syllables or with clarifying glyphs (semantic signs) to
show which meaning was intended for Maya homophones (since Mayan is
basically a monosyllabic language). Most of the readings have focused on the
monument inscriptions, which are chiseled clearly in low-relief limestone.
Carved pottery approximates this type of clarity (see #70, which probably
contains part of the still undeciphered Primary Standard Text). The painted
pottery inscriptions-themselves calligraphic works of art-are less clear and
involve a greater variety of forms, from fluid (#62) to block (#68). In the
catalogue discussion of the vases that include painted glyphs, no attempt will
be made to suggest the meaning of the written text.
At the end of the Classic period, the main focus of Maya culture shifted to
the northern Yucatan Peninsula of modern Mexico. This area came under
increasingly strong influence from the Mexican cultures, especially the Nahua
speakers who by then had moved into the former Olmec territory of southern
Veracruz. Mexicanized Maya were apparently the last rulers of some central
Maya cities before the cities were abandoned. The Maya broke into more
fractionalized city-states, which were in a constant state of war among them-
selves. Although it is possible that the Veracruz palmate stones, like #55, may
have continued to be made in the Early Postclassic, our collection has only
one work (#80) securely placed in the Postclassic from all of Mesoamerica.
Attributable to the central Maya, it is striking in its dependence on forms
from outside the Maya areas: first, the long animal-head tripods of lower
Central America, and second, Mexican forms, especially of the Mixteca-
Puebla style, found from northern Oaxaca to central Veracruz, which pro-
duced a style widely used throughout Mesoamerica in the Late Postclassic.
This style provided the broad artistic base upon which the craftsmen of the
famed Aztec empire built their reputation as the inheritors of the Toltec.


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1969 Ancient Mexican Art. New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons.
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1974 "Excavations at El Cerro Encantado, Jalisco." In The Archaeology of West Mexico,
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1971 "Veracruz Ceramic Techniques." In Ancient Art of Veracruz, pp. 38-41. Los Angeles:
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1981 The Art in the Great Temple: Mkxico-Tenochtitlan. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional
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1943 "An Historical Sketch of Geography and Anthropology in the Thrascan Region, Part
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1952 Urnas de Oaxaca. Mexico City: Memorias del Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e
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1985 "Postclassic Temporal and Spatial Frames for the Lowland Maya: A Background." In
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9-22. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Coe, Michael D.
1965 The Jaguar's Children: Pre-Classic Central Mexico. New York: The Museum of Prim-
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1957 Indian Art of Mexico and Central America. New York: Knopf.
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1979 "A Maya Ballplayer from Yucatan: An Illustrative Shell Piece." In Pre-Columbian
Art in Southern Collections, pp. 17-20. Huntsville, AL: Huntsville Museum of Art.
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1943 Ceramic Stratigraphy at Cerro de las Mesas, Veracruz, Mexico. Bureau of American
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1970 Before Cortes: Sculpture of Middle America. New York: The Metropolitan Museum
of Art.
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1979 Vasijas pintadas mayas en context arqueol6gico. Mexico City: Instituto de Investiga-
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1966 "Shaft Tombs, Shell Trumpets, and Shamanism." Ph.D. dissertation, University of
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1977 "Ritual Enemas." Natural History 86 (March), pp. 88-91.

Gallagher, Jacki
1983 Companions of the Dead: Ceramic Tomb Sculpture from Ancient West Mexico. Los
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1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley.
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vol. 18.
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1985 The Sculpture of Palenque. Vol. 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
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1960 Mayan Terracottas. New York: Frederick Praeger.
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1977 Las esculturas en terracota de El Zapotal, Veracruz. Mexico City: Instituto de Inves-
tigaciones Est6ticas, Universidad Nacional Aut6noma de M6xico.
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1971 "A New Interpretation of the Smiling Figures." In Ancient Art of Veracruz, pp. 37-
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1972 The Sculptures of El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico. Gainesville: University of Florida
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1970 Sculpture of Ancient West Mexico: Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima. The Proctor Stafford
Collection. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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1949 The Archaeology of the Autl6n-Thxcacuesco Area of Jalisco, II: The Tuxcacuesco-
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Papers of the University of Arizona, no. 37.
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1959 The Art of the Ancient Maya. New York: Crowell.
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1966 "The Evolution of the Zapotec Glyph C." In Ancient Oaxaca; Discoveries in Mexican
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1952 Copan Ceramics: A Study of Southeastern Maya Pottery. Washington: Carnegie In-
stitute of Washington, Publication 597.
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1969 "The Extent of the Chupicuaro Tradition." In The Natalie Wood Collection of Pre-
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1968 "Four Maya Pottery Vessels from British Honduras." American Antiquity 33,
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1956 Excavations at Chupicuaro, Guanajuato, Mexico. Philadelphia: The American Phil-
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1978 The Smoking Gods: Tobacco in Maya Art, History, and Religion. Norman: Univer-
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1952 Exploraciones arqueol6gicas en Palenque. Anales del Instituto Nacional de Antropo-
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1986 The Blood of Kings; Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art. Fort Worth, TX: Kimball Art
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1966 Arqueologia de Teotihuacan: La Cer6mica. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura
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1955 Ceramic Sequence at Uaxactun, Guatemala. 2 vols. New Orleans: Middle American
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1972 "Hallazgos en El Zapotal, Ver." Boletin del Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e
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1974 The Shaft Tomb Figures of West Mexico. Los Angeles: Southwest Museum Papers,
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Solid buff pottery; white slip on face only
7.1 cm. high; 3.4 cm. wide; 3 cm. deep
Olmec, south-central Mexico
Early Preclassic, 1150-900 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-95-UFG
This "baby-face" was broken from a relatively large solid figurine made
of coarse clay. Lucinda Esh (1986: student paper) suggests it is related to
the Tlapacoya style of southeastern State of M6xico, although certainly
southwestern Puebla (e.g., Las Bocas) is a possibility. Parallels with the
smaller figurines of smooth clay from the Gulf coast, where the baby-face
type originated as miniature versions of the Olmec were-jaguar child,
place this piece contemporary with the San Lorenzo A phase, around the
11th century B.C. (Coe and Diehl 1980: 265).

Polished and pecked greenstone
27.8 cm. high; 12.1 cm. wide; 8.4 cm. deep
Mezcala, south-central Guerrero, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This massive effigy axehead exhibits the essential human features. The
pecked stone head must have been used for pounding, like a pestle. Its axe
form is evident in the cutting bottom edge of its two legs, which are
separated by a rounded groove. Eye areas are indicated by the heavy
brow and a concave depression beneath but no eye orbits proper. Sharp
planes render the nose and cheeks, which are separated by concave de-
pressions. Incised horizontal grooves render the mouth and the four fin-
gers of each hand.

Dense greenstone; highly polished except for top of the head and the
eye and mouth sockets
12 cm. high; 5.9 cm. wide; 3.5 cm. deep
Mezcala, south-central Guerrero, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 200
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The Late Preclassic axe form is still present, flaring gently outward from
the rough top of the head to the bottom of the arms. The arms are more
clearly articulated than those of #2.



Light greenstone; carved and semipolished
21.8 cm. high; 8.6 cm. wide; 2.3 cm. deep
Chontal, north-central Guerrero, Mexico
Classic, A.D. 300-800
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The flattened angular abstraction of this piece deviates from its earlier
axe-figure prototypes. Much thinner than earlier forms, it has angular
shapes and concave outlines and seems more a blade than an axe. Sharper
cuts created strong faceting and, combined with drilling, opened the
solid mass of the stone to oval perforations, which separate the arms from
the body. The facial features and the breasts seem to rise abruptly from
the flat plane of the body; the prominent T-shaped brow line juts out
below the forehead. Bart Kasten (1986: graduate student paper) located a
similar figure in Covarrubias (1957: fig. 46, top left).

Unpolished greenstone with colored inclusions; possibly originally
painted; sharp grooves for eyes and nose
11.6 cm. high; 9.1 cm. wide; 5.5 cm. deep
Mezcala, south-central Guerrero, Mexico
Early Postclassic, A.D. 800-1200
Anonymous gift, S-82-89-UFG
Perhaps ultimately derived from face sculptures of the central Mexican
type, with simple ridged panels along the back edges, this object may
have been placed on a funeral bundle prior to second cremation, or it
may have served as an interchangeable deity face. It could not have been
used as a mask on a living person because it is too small, its back contour
would not fit a human, and it has no perforations through which to see,
breathe, or speak. A conical hole incompletely drilled into the underside
of the top back ridge may have served to hook it to the front of an object.
Bart Kasten (1986: graduate student paper) identified masks in a related
style recently excavated from the offerings of the Aztecs' Great Temple in
Mexico City (Bonifaz Nufto 1981: #24, 81), where they could have been
brought as tribute from the conquered Nahua speakers of Guerrero.

Dark gray burnished pottery
7 cm. high; 16 cm. diameter
Chupicuaro, southern Guanajuato, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 500-300 B.C.
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-45-UFG
This bowl with slightly curved bottom and vertical, slightly flaring sides
repeats a popular Early Preclassic form. In central Mexico, important
Olmec iconography was incised on burnished black pottery of this shape
(Coe 1965: 33).

Burnished gray olla; low shoulder, narrow neck, and flared rim
20.3 cm. high; 18.7 cm. diameter (10.6 cm. at rim)
Chupicuaro, north-central Mexico
Late Preclassic, 500-300 B.C.
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-38-UFG
This piece is most similar in shape to the Brown Polychrome ollas exca-
vated by Porter (1956: fig. 15a, b) and placed in her "Late" period, more
recently reseriated "Early" (McBride 1969: 43). A blackware olla with
simple shoulder terracing also comes from the earlier Late Preclassic pe-
riod (Porter 1956: fig. 50o).

Burnished buff pottery, blackened resist paint on exterior; red paint
on interior and rim
7.9 cm. high; 14.9 cm. wide; 11 cm. deep
Chupicuaro, north-central Mexico
Late Preclassic, 500-300 B.C.
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-42-UFG
While the oval bowl with the slightly figure-eight rim shape is well
known from Chupicuaro (Porter 1956: fig. lic, g), the resist painting on
the exterior is unmatched in any of the four hundred excavated Chupf-
cuaro burials, although resist black on cream was found in preliminary
pits (Weaver 1969: 13). Thus, it is possible that this piece may not be from
Chupicuaro but rather from any of a wide range of related Late Preclas-
sic sites from Hidalgo to Colima, where resist painting is well known
from that period. Four-sectioned parquet squares of parallel lines pattern
the exterior bottom; vertical bands with left-handed wing designs are on
the side.

Burnished buff pottery; brick red paint on exterior and rim; black
lines on sides
12.7 cm. high; 23 cm. diameter (18.7 cm. at rim)
Chupicuaro, southern Guanajuato, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-200 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-92-UFG
While clearly belonging to the Black Polychrome style as defined by Por-
ter (1956: 551), which has been reseriated to late in the sequence (Weaver
1969: 9), the specific designs seem broad and heavy in the tradition of
earlier styles such as Brown Polychrome and Red on Buff (Porter 1956:
figs. 15i, 111). The stepped diamond pattern on the sides is, nevertheless,
a common one; here it is boldly stated by the spare use of black lines to
reinforce the borders of the basic design.


Buff pottery; red slipped; traces of black paint around tops of legs
7.9 cm. high; 20.6 cm. diameter
Chupicuaro, southern Guanajuato, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-35-UFG
The delicate V-shaped mouth and small snub nose convert this low bowl
into a broad but sensitively modeled personality. Its style relates to the
wraparound style of the Post-Olmec period, which was used in pottery
during the Preclassic-Protoclassic transitional era (see Scott 1978: 34). At
Chupicuaro this style began in Brown Polychrome (Weaver 1969: #40, p.
xiii) but continued into the Black Polychrome, of which this piece was a
clear example before the black on the legs and underlining the face flaked

Bisque buff pottery; burnished red painted lines on exterior
10.8 cm. high; 19.8 cm. diameter (15 cm. at rim)
Chupicuaro, southern Guanajuato, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-41-UFG
While Red on Buff continues throughout Chupicuaro, the precise thin
lines of the red decoration suggest the later style (Porter 1956: fig. llv).
Red multibordered panels contain mirror-image triangles or narrow rows
of alternating red and buff squares. The conical legs, similar to those of
#10, have roughly cut inverted triangular openings facing both out and
in, clearly added after the bowl was finished.

Burnished buff pottery; reduced-fired blackening on top
4.4 cm. high; 18.7 cm. diameter
Chupicuaro, north-central Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-82-UFG
Mammiform supports are hallmarks of Protoclassic vessels throughout
Mesoamerica and are well known in Chupfcuaro (Porter 1956: figs. 6c,
4r). The low modeling makes this piece unique: the openness of the bowl
is inviting. The three breastlike shapes are best seen by turning the plate
over and viewing the warm brown color and nipple points on each leg.

Burnished pottery; mottled orange slip with blackening on the sides;
resist-painted vertical strips on the bottom divide the incurving
foot into quadrants
14 cm. high; 19.7 cm. diameter (7.8 cm. at rim)
Chupicuaro, southern Guanajuato, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-81-UFG
A rare specimen in Chupicuaro, this knobby squash design evidently cop-
ies an early cultigen in Mesoamerica, although the sharp basal break
below it and the crisp vertical neck above are nonnaturalistic and charac-
teristic of its later period. A related blackware vessel with similar vertical
neck and exaggerated nubby body was excavated in a Chupicuaro burial
assigned to the "Early" phase (Porter 1956: fig. 5q), now considered late
at the site.

Solid unburnished tan pottery; light yellow slip
20.7 cm. high; 11.3 cm. wide; 2.8 cm. deep
Ortices, southwestern Jalisco-north-central Colima, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-97-UFG
"Gingerbread" figurines from Isabel Kelly's excavations in Tuxcacuesco,
Jalisco, are divided into three types; this one is so closely related to the
Ortices style in Colima that it requires the joint name T'xcacuesco-Or-
tices (Kelly 1949: fig. 80a). Kelly recently specified that this style belongs
to the Ortices phase (1980: 5). The coffee-bean eyes relate it to San Sebas-
tian figures in northern Jalisco-Nayarit.

Hollow light buff unslipped pottery; air holes in center of headdress
and back of head
13.7 cm. high; 9.5 cm. wide; 13 cm. deep
Ortices, north-central Colima, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
Small warriors, like their large West Mexican counterparts, may have
been placed in tombs to protect the souls of the dead on their journey to
the underworld. This figure turns to the left, recalling the posture of
shamans throughout North America and northern Asia. His practical
purpose, that of a whistle, might have been a means of alerting to poten-
tial danger.
This handsome stylization of the warrior, with his full-length shield,
reaching from head to foot, is a common image in Colima art, duplicated
in numerous small sculptures (William Dickson 1982: student paper).
The pellet eyes, punched in the center, resemble two doughnuts and char-
acterize an early style in West Mexico.



Hollow buff unslipped pottery; yellow paint on hair and clothing;
firing hole behind right arm
18 cm. high; 9.9 cm. wide; 8 cm. deep
Ortices, north-central Colima, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-98-UFG
Related to #15 by the doughnut stylization of the eyes and by the hour-
glass-shaped, flat-topped, pellet-fringed headdress, this piece is neverthe-
less coarser and deliberately uglier, as if embodying a bawdy joke. His
hair falls in disarray down front and back; his heavy teeth are promi-
nently attached to his mouth, making him appear animalistic; and his left
hand, now broken, once displayed his erect phallus, as does a similar
piece in the Stafford collection (Kan et al. 1970: 147). Presumably, the
cord tied around his lower body served to keep his phallus erect during
the performance.

Solid buff gritty pottery
13 cm. high; 9.7 cm. wide; 7 cm. deep
Ortices, north-central Colima, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C,
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
At first glance, this seated broad figure appears to be a mother and child.
Julieta Brambila (1981: student paper) observed, however, that the figure
wears a loincloth and carries the characteristic horn of a shaman on its
turban; thus, it is a male. The child, therefore, is presented like the Christ
child to the Magi or like the divine semihuman baby of the Olmec. In
contrast to the child's active posture, the adult male is formal and re-
served (Kelly 1949: fig. 80i). The pellet scarification on his shoulders is
found throughout western Mexico. The eyes of both figures (and the
mouth of the adult) are unmodified strips of clay with no indication of
lids or pupils.

Solid orange-buff pottery; black paint patterns on arms and legs
12.9 cm. high; 9.8 cm. wide; 7.7 cm. deep
Ortices, north-central Colima or southwestern Jalisco, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This flat figure, based on the "gingerbread" type (#14), exhibits dignified
posture with the limbs bent forward to create crossed legs. Five hornlike
projections atop the headdress suggest his role as shaman. In his lap lie
two balls, which may represent peyote buttons, a common stimulant in
religious rites among the contemporary Huichol. The filleted treatment
and black paint are related to the Tuxcacuesco brown type of southwest-
ern Jalisco (Kelly 1949: fig. 80b; Von Winning 1974: figs. 106, 107).

Hollow buff pottery; traces of resist-painted stripes on arms and legs;
whistle mouthpiece in top of head; hole in back of head
12.9 cm. high; 8.9 cm. wide; 7 cm. deep
Ortices, north-central Colima, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The features were formed by adding fillets and pellets to the hand-mod-
eled body. The loincloth, reaching to his ankles in the front, resembles
those of Classic period male figures and suggests high status. Proof of high
status in Protoclassic Colima is supplied by representations of seated men
carried in litters. This figure's active, flexed posture, with arms embrac-
ing the space in front of him, suggests that he is a dancer.

Hollow orange-tan pottery; incised and burnished; firing holes under
each arm
9.4 cm. high; 6.4 cm. wide; 6 cm. deep
Comala, north-central Colima, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This withered old woman has shriveled, pendant breasts and deep wrin-
kle lines incised on her face and in concentric rings around her arms and
the portions of her legs unobscured by her skirt. Her back ribs are mod-
eled in a low-relief chevron pattern, and she has a prominent dowager's
hump. Kelly (1980: 6) indicates that the more burnished, articulated fig-
urines are of the Comala phase.




Solid dark brown pottery; blackened surface
10.9 cm. high; 5 cm. wide; 7.8 cm. deep
Comala, northern Colima or southwestern Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This piece is probably from the Tbxcacuesco area of southwestern Jalisco,
where the diamond-eye form is known (Kelly 1949: fig. 77). A similar
pair of unslipped fighting women with diamond-shaped eyes, illustrated
by Von Winning (1974: fig. 211), lacks the square base on which this male
pair stands and is described as unslipped.

Dark red burnished pottery; spout in head
20 cm. high; 11 cm. wide; 16.8 cm. deep
Comala, southern Jalisco or northern Colima, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Anonymous gift, C-82-106-UFG
A problem piece to classify, this figure shares some facial characteristics
with the figures from San Juanito, Jalisco, but it does not have their
distinctive tasseled ear-pendants. Instead, each earlobe is completely per-
forated, perhaps to receive a copper earspool of the type occasionally
found on Jalisco figures. The high head and large slit eyes and mouth
relate this figure to a female figurine from Chula Vista, Jalisco, of the
Thxcacuesco-Ortices type (Von Winning 1974: fig. 214). The head shape
and elongated features suggest Kelly's (1980: 6) Comala solid figurines.
The diminutive proportions and the incurved, stubby legs suggest that
this figure represents a child, perhaps recently removed from the cradle-
board (a device used to flatten the skull intentionally).

Hollow dark reddish pottery; red slipped on shoulders, cloak, and
projecting parts of hat; incisions on cloak; spout on top of head
44.2 cm. high; 19.2 cm. wide; 24.8 cm. deep
Comala, north-central Colima, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 100-300
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
Great care was taken by the artist to create a beautiful work of sculpture.
The forms are simplified and idealized but retain a sense of organic life.
The shell cup from which the figure drinks has been joined to the face like
an extended lower lip, but this should not be interpreted literally since
the hands also merge with the bottom of the cup. Delicate butterfly inci-
sions on the half cloak (typical West Mexican male garb) contrast with the
simplified body surfaces to create an illusion of large scale, which the tall
body proportions emphasize. The slit pellet eyes suggest the Protoclassic

Hollow buff pottery; red slipped; thick white pigment on top of
clothing; ear perforations
49.4 cm. high; 17.3 cm. wide; 10 cm. deep
Pijuamo, southernmost Jalisco, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-500
Anonymous gift, C-82-63-UFG
The elegant Pijuamo style has recently been identified as intermediate
between Colima and Jalisco styles (Von Winning 1974: 74). This figure
has the burnished red surface of Colima but more elaborate white high-
lights. It has the large curved eyes of Colima but heavier proportions,
somewhat like Chinesca styles, especially in the position and scale of the
arms. The ridged headdress painted in a concentric diamond pattern
clearly represents a coiled rattlesnake seen from the back and supplies a
supernatural overtone.

Hollow coarse reddish pottery; reddish brown slip; whitish post-
fired pigment; firing hole in upper rear of head
45.5 cm. high; 30 cm. wide; 24.7 cm. deep
Coahuayana River Valley, Michoacin-Colima border, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 300-100 B.C.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H Spivack,
A magnificent sculpture worthy of the late Henry Moore, the ample neg-
ative spaces relate beautifully to the large, simplified organic forms. This
piece is a naturalistic variant of the recently identified Coahuayana style
(Gallagher 1983; 42). Our work lacks the shoulder pellets and either the
spout or ridged coiffure that characterize this narrowly defined style, but
the stool is distinctive.

Hollow tan pottery; burnished reddish slip on head, neck, and tail
22.9 cm. high; 17.5 cm. wide; 36.2 cm. long
Comala, north-central Colima, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-500
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This beautifully rounded, lively representation of an alert Mexican hair-
less dog, called a xoloixcuintli, has the formed simplicity of the best
Colima and Jalisco sculptures. Its meaning in tombs of the deceased has
been debated. Is it merely a surrogate pet to keep its owner company in
the afterlife? Is it food for the journey (ancient Mesoamericans ate these
dogs, and the rotund belly suggests that it has been fattened)? The same
rounded belly more accurately represents pregnancy; so might it be a
fertility symbol? Or, as the bulk of evidence suggests, is it a guide for the
soul of the deceased through the hazards of the Mesoamerican under-

Red-slipped pottery; ochre color on a few appendages
22.3 cm. high; 30.5 cm. diameter of squash
Comala, north-central Colima, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-500
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This bowl is an excellent example of a classic Colima design. Particularly
clear are the renderings of the parrots, whose beaks support the bowl and
whose pointed tails contact the ground. Parrots are considered compan-
ions or messengers of the deities; among contemporary Indians they per-
sonify the Morning Star, one of the three tutelary gods of the Cora tribe
(Gallagher 1983: 109).

Hollow fine white ceramic; red paint on lower legs and upper torso,
trace of resist paint on forehead; delicate incisions on back of
head indicate parted and combed hair
20.9 cm. high; 19.3 cm. wide; 10.5 cm. deep
Chinesca, southwestern Nayarit, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 200
Anonymous gift, C-82-103-UFG
This figure is an example of the most numerous type of Chinesca, which
may represent female children-legs spread wide in an infantile fashion
that recalls the Olmec babies. Although small and simplified, this type,
called D in Von Winning's catalog (1974: 71), shares qualities, such as
hair treatment, trapezoidal head shape, and nose and ear ornaments,
with the large naturalistic Chinescas from the major tomb at Las Cebo-
llas, south of Compostela, which have been radiocarbon dated A.D.
115 100.

Hollow buff ceramic; red paint covered with black on head and
cross-hatching on pants; spout in knob on top of head
13.1 cm. high; 10.6 cm. wide; 7.5 cm. deep
Chinesca, southwestern Nayarit, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The bold colors for which Chinesca figurines are famed enliven this tiny
seated figure, whose rectangular facial proportions resemble Von Win-
ning's (1974) Type D but whose unstriated hair is like Type C.

Hollow pale buff burnished pottery; red slip; resist paint rendering
pubic net and crossed straps on chest and back
19.3 cm. high; 17.7 cm. wide; 9 cm. deep
Chinesca, southwestern Nayarit, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 200-400
Anonymous gift, C-82-104-UFG
Greater abstraction and simplification than occurs in #28 and #29 indi-
cate a later date within the Chinesca tradition, as does heavier use of
resist painting, also seen in southeastern Nayarit. The head of this type,
called C by Von Winning (1974: 71), is simplified to a triangular form; its
skull is smooth, its eyes become a double punch, all modeled jewelry is
eliminated, and the arms are created by perforating the torso, with no
independent modeling. The strong positive painting on the cheeks domi-
nates the face; the converging chevrons draw attention to the diminutive

Hollow pottery; red slip on body, worn off in many areas, and two
diagonal stripes paralleling nose; white bands bordered with black
around the neck and on back girdle
22.8 cm. high; 11.9 cm. wide; 6.9 cm. deep
Chinesca, southwestern Nayarit, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 200-400
Anonymous gift, C-82-99-UFG
This infantile figure is identifiable as a female by a single circular nose
ring and lack of red body paint inside the thighs. Like #30, it is also a
Tyrpe C figurine, but it is better modeled: it has a short brow line, well-
defined nose, projecting ears perforated in the center, and arms merging
with the torso only at the hands and cut out at the elbows.

Hollow buff pottery; incised armor; burnished red paint on body,
black paint encircling eyes and clubhead; firing hole between
horns of helmet
46.5 cm. high; 16 cm. wide; 18.3 cm. deep
San Sebastian, southeastern Nayarit-north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 200-1 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-59-UFG
A protective warrior lifts his club to guard the tomb occupant. Horns
suggest supernatural power. The torso-covering armor and bell-shaped
helmet may represent basketry or wicker panels, the coarse texture of
which is indicated by the crude incising on the matte surface. The war-
rior is nude below the waist. The form of the choker necklace strongly
suggests that it was made of shells; the earrings may also have been shell.
The figure is supported by a pair of rear struts, creating an abstraction of
the stools found in the Coahuayana style (#25).




Hollow brown pottery; burnished red slip; creamy white painted
designs on face, neck, and drum
31.5 cm. high; 22.1 cm. wide; 18.5 cm. deep
San Sebastian, southeastern Nayarit-north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Late Preclassic, 200-1 B.C.
Anonymous gift, C-82-72-UFG
Penitential rites performed during a funeral procession (Gallagher 1983:
fig. 149) apparently explain the presence of this ghastly musician. The
realistic rendering of full rib cage, collarbones, and pelvis dramatically
communicates his fasting. The box-mouth created by misformed lips
results from a blood-sacrificing ritual; other sculptures of this style show
the participant's cheeks perforated by a horizontal pole. The garishly
colored lines on his cheeks are the equivalent of vertical incised striations
seen on other figures (Kan et al. 1970: #62). Cylindrical vertical drums
with an opening on each side (ours was made separately and is also open
on the bottom) were widely used in all West Mexican cultures, presum-
ably to accompany funeral rituals.

Hollow brown pottery; red burnished paint, black and white designs
painted on top; firing hole in back of each head
A (Male): 34.8 cm. high; 18.5 cm. wide; 16.6 cm. deep
B (Female): 31.4 cm. high; 21 cm. wide; 18 cm. deep
IxtlAn del Rio, southeastern Nayarit, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 100-300
Anonymous gift, C-82-70-UFG
A more realistically modeled matrimonial pair than #35, the male prof-
fers a cup, the woman shoulders a bowl. Both show the detailed clenched
teeth, oval modeled eyes, multiple-ringed ear ornaments, and armbands
typical of Nayarit figures. The man wears a pointed cap, scoop loincloth,
and crescent nose ornament; the woman wears the one ubiquitous nose
ring and coiled turban. His feet are folded; hers are gracefully placed on
one side. The artists are clearly concerned with realistically rendering all
details of body and dress, although the relative proportions of this style
are not as correct as the more naturalistic, presumably contemporary
styles to the southwest. The bodies and heads are somewhat flattened,
and the limbs are undersized and flabby.

Hollow brown pottery; unburnished red slip with resist black, white,
and yellow paint; firing hole in upper back of each head
A (Male): 29.6 cm. high; 21.4. cm. wide; 12.5 cm. deep
B (Female): 29.4 cm. high; 22.2 cm. wide; 14 cm. deep
Ixtlan del Rio, southeastern Nayarit, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-500
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
In this conceptually modeled matrimonial pair, the woman shoulders a
bowl while the man probably plays a shell instrument. The simplified
eyes formed by depressed circles filled with white pigment and the heavy
painting of coarse surfaces suggest a parallel between this polychrome
Ixtlin style and the El Arenal Brown style of neighboring Jalisco, radio-
carbon dated ca. A.D. 330. The male appears to be inserting a long stick
or rasp into a turtle carapace, which, in West Mexico, is a common musi-
cal instrument (played by beating) (see Von Winning 1974: 81; fig. 281).
Stephen Davis (1986: student paper) suggests this is a conch shell, used as
a trumpet to call the supernatural. Large numbers of these shells, im-
ported from the Caribbean coast, were found in West Mexican tombs.

Hollow, burnished, smooth white pottery; small firing holes in ears
A (Male): 40.5 cm. high; 28.5 cm. wide; 21.5 cm. deep
B (Female): 43 cm. high; 27.6 cm. wide; 21.5 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 1-200
Anonymous gift, C-82-71-UFG
This matrimonial pair is more naturalistically modeled than the one in
#35. The man and woman offer nothing to the tomb occupant except
their rapt attention. They are surprisingly devoid of elaborate clothing or
jewelry. The man wears typical shorts, and the woman wears a knee-
length skirt; both wear head wraps. He sits cross-legged, she with her
lower legs beneath her thighs. Their impact is in the powerful rounded
modeling of their facial features and limbs. In contrast to these large,
smooth forms are the fleshy facial features and detailed digits with nails.

Hollow gray pottery; slipped red from mouth down; firing holes in
47 cm. high; 32 cm. wide; 24.5 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 100-300
Anonymous gift, C-82-60-UFG
Somewhat less naturalistic than the couple in #36, this figure has no feet
rendered and his fingers are without nails. His face is more masklike, and
his protruding, open lips reveal a full set of clenched teenth, reminiscent
of the realistic Nayarit couple in #34. The smooth bands on the right side
of his turban are clearly differentiated from the textured bands on the
left. Holes in his earlobes may once have held copper rings.



Hollow buff yellow pottery; dark red slip on body and arms; black
paint on loincloth, lips, and irises; firing hole under back of crest
44 cm. high; 27.3 cm. wide; 24 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 100-300
Anonymous gift, C-82-62-UFG
Similar in general style to #37, this figure is more strongly painted, a late
trait, and carries more attributes to be of service to the dead: he rests his
mace-topped club on his left shoulder and holds out a shallow dish. A
pair of "lovers" in the Proctor Stafford collection (Kan et al. 1970: #75)
have similar features, wear the same boldly curving headdress terminat-
ing in parietal crests, and are of similar color, which the catalog states is
related to the Ameca Gray type.

Hollow buff gray pottery; red paint around collar of armor and on
upper legs and alternating with strips of cream paint on club
27.5 cm. high; 16 cm. wide; 13 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 1-200
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The rounded details of the head contrast with perfunctory treatment and
short proportions of the lower body. The armor is similar to the stiff,
cylindrical woven or plaited armor of #32, but its lower end is not clearly
defined. A flaring triangular flap protecting the coccyx is often found on
West Mexican pants, which are here defined by the red paint in lieu of
modeling. Rebecca Fedrigon (1986: student paper) noted that a similar
figure with strapped headdress wrappings was published in Von Winning
(1974: fig. 133).

Hollow fine gray burnished pottery; lower body covered with red
slip, broken and restored; firing hole behind occipital flange on
top of head
23 cm. high; 22 cm. wide; 17 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, A.D. 1-200
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
Similar in general simplified naturalism to #39, this figure rests on ta-
pered buttocks. The sex of the figure is not well defined, although it is
probably male. Scarification is indicated by the pellets on the high
mounded shoulders; this was a widespread trait in West Mexico and is of
no diagnostic significance for either sex or region (Von Winning 1974:

Hollow, thin, burnished, dark gray pottery; whitish flow lines cas-
cade up shoulder to jar and knee up arm; necked jar on back opens
to entire interior
18.6 cm. high; 14.8 cm. wide; 17 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Anonymous gift, C-82-108-UFG
This face is similar to the long-headed San Juanito style, municipality of
Antonio Escobedo, but it has a highly polished surface and the finest,
thinnest-shelled clay wall I know from West Mexico. It recalls the Thin
Orange pottery of Teotihuacn, which was said to have penetrated West
Mexico in the Early Classic. On the other hand, the posture and dark
burnished color are like the Nayarit mourners of the San Sebastian tradi-
tion, which have coffee-bean eyes and are dated early in the sequence.
The long, thin arms and the nonnaturalistic legs, with six toes on one foot
and eight on the other, suggest that the fully developed Jalisco style had
not yet been achieved.

Hollow burnished gray pottery; orange and black firing clouds;
rimmed mouth of vessel opens on top of head
13.5 cm. high; 13.8 cm. wide; 21 cm. deep
Ameca, north-central Jalisco, Mexico
Protoclassic, 100 B.C.-A.D. 100
Anonymous gift, C-82-107-UFG
The human eyes, with thick lids and a pellet eyeball, identify this dog as
the same style as Jalisco figures such as #40 (Marcy Andrea 1986: student
paper). Von Winning (1974: fig. 205) illustrates a similar dog lying down.
The dark gray, hard, burnished surface relates this pottery effigy to #41,
although it does not have the thin-shell construction.

Solid smooth white pottery made in slabs; traces of red slip; black
firing clouds at feet
31 cm. high; 24 cm. wide; 9.5 cm. deep at feet
Chapala, central Jalisco, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 200-400
Anonymous gift, C-82-73-UFG
This extraordinarily fluid figure is in the "sheep-faced" style of the Gua-
dalajara area, identifiable by long noses and large, white-painted, raised
eyes with slightly sunken pupils (Von Winning 1974: 56). These charac-
teristics relate these figures to the late Ixtlan del Rio figures like couple
#35. Normally this style is painted red, but this piece appears to have
been soaking in water for a long time, leaving its surface scoured and
with few traces of the red paint. The dynamic naturalism of the figure,
with its contraposto twist of the body and head to the left in a characteris-
tic tomb guardian stance, needs the now-missing mace head on the raised
end of the club for balance. The plastic representation of sandals is
unique, according to Von Winning (1974: 27), who does report a painted



Thin yellowish brown burnished pottery; slipped dark brown on all ex-
terior surfaces; postfired red paint on handle around rim, basal band,
and outer sides of cylindrical legs
20 cm. high; 17 cm. diameter
Teotihuacin, central highlands, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-600
Anonymous gift, C-82-100-UFG
A popular and widespread shape in Mesoamerica following the expansion
of Teotihuacan influence, this vase and all of its elements can be found
only in the immediate Teotihuacan sphere (S6journ6 1966), although in-
dividual features appear in Veracruz and the Maya area. These elements
are the cylindrical forms of the vessel proper, the cylindrical legs with
holes perforated in their bottoms, and the slightly flaring handle made
continuously with the lid and covered with a circular piece of clay (which
now has come loose on one side). The circular coffee-bean or screw-head
decoration along the lid rim is echoed in the matte frieze around the base
of the vessel.

Gray pottery; whitish slip and traces of cinnabar
48 cm. high; 30.4 cm. wide; 26.8 cm. deep
Zapotec, Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 300-500
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
In the richly provisioned tombs of Oaxaca, urns depicting deities usually
occupy the most prominent spot, at the head of the deceased or in a niche
above. Surrounding each urn are companions, identifiable by their more
naturalistic demeanor and less elaborate ornaments. The geometric treat-
ment of the face on this urn identifies it as contemporary with the Teoti-
huacin III style, also mentioned in the discussion of #47 from Veracruz.
Students Michael Upham (1982) and Sergio Ortega (1981) concluded that
the major item on this plume-fringed headdress is Glyph C, a Zapotec
designation which originally referred to water but here takes on the im-
age of a monster mouth over the figure's head (Leigh 1966: 259). The
chest pendant, which lies on the heavy male loincloth, refers to a stylized
flower with a jade center. The slab-made sculptural forms obscure the
open-topped cylindrical urn and the open framework of the crossed legs
surrounding the bottom of the urn. An almost exact duplicate of this urn
was found in Monte AlbAn Tomb 153 (Caso and Bernal 1952: 134).

Hollow unburnished buff pottery; painted red on top of head over
left eyebrow and on neck; black resinous paint on eyes, mouth,
and side plumes; large rectangular openings in back of head and
above whistle in back
23.4 cm. high; 14.8 cm. wide; 11 cm. deep
Remojadas, central Veracruz, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 250-450
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The three-legged support of this figure culminates in a whistle, the
mouthpiece of which projects horizontally from the rear pelvic area. Like
many smaller Veracruz figures, this work is conceived frontally, with no
attention paid to its rear appearance; in fact, one is not intended to look
behind a flange running from his waist to his knees. The fancy headdress
is topped with a spiky crest; lateral black extensions could be enriched
seasonally by the insertion of temporary materials in slots flanking the
crest (Thomas Donaudy 1981: student paper). The thick, nubby rope
collar and the red paint on the neck suggest this person is engaged in
sacrificial bloodletting, which parallels similar iconography in the Maya
area (Schele and Miller 1986: 192).

Hollow buff pottery; badly broken and reglued; black resinous paint
indicating irises
21.8 cm. high; 18.8 cm. wide; 9.5 cm. deep
Remojadas, central Veracruz, Mexico
Middle Classic, A.D. 450-750
Anonymous gift, C-82-110-UFG
The strongly trapezoidal facial proportions suggest a stylistic connection
to Teotihuacin III, where stone faces exhibit a similar idealized, geomet-
ric format. The open-mouthed pose recalls large depictions of female
singers from central Veracruz with their arms opened wide, apparently
belting out a song for the benefit of the deceased.

Hollow buff pottery; postfired yellow paint on face, black resinous
paint on headband; large squarish opening in rear of head
12 cm. high; 12.6 cm. wide; 14 cm. deep
Mixtequilla, south-central Veracruz, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 600-900
Anonymous gift, C-82-109-UFG
The open mouth, which reveals a second mouth inside, and the closed
eyes identify this head as a representation of the god of spring vegetation,
known as Xipe Totec by the Aztecs. The Aztecs celebrated his season with
rites involving the flaying of a victim whose heart had already been cut
out and whose skin symbolized the corn husk which must be removed to
reach the kernels. Hillary Rumpel (1986: student paper) discovered a
similar head in the Stendahl collection (Anton 1969: pl. 159).



Hollow sandy buff coarse pottery; larger rectangular opening in back
of head, leading to cavity continuous with body
21 cm. high; 15 cm. wide at ears; 13.7 cm. deep
Mixtequilla, inland south-central Veracruz, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 600-900
Anonymous gift, C-82-111-UFG
Part of a larger figure in the Monumental Style of the Mixtequilla, this
head-with attached neck and right shoulder fragment-has an up-
turned face. It shares the latter characteristic with a head from Dicha
Tuerta (Guti6rrez and Hamilton 1977: fig. 71), which wears a large ani-
mal headdress. The rough surface on the top of this piece indicates that it,
too, may once have had a headdress covering it. The partially closed eyes
and open mouth suggest the head may have been associated with the
Aztec goddess Cihualteotl, patroness of women who died in childbirth
and who accompany the sun eternally to its zenith (Medellin 1960: 90).

Hollow yellowish pottery; heavy white root marks
15.7 cm. high; 13.4 cm. wide at collar; 19.7 cm. long
Mixtequilla, south-central Veracruz
Late Classic, A.D. 550-750
Anonymous gift, C-82-113-UFG
Its fragmentary state makes a positive identification of this piece diffi-
cult. A large hole in the top of the head between the two ears suggests
that something-perhaps a crest-may have been snapped off, and a
nose nubbin indicates that an attribute may have been attached. The
most likely original complete form would be a seated howling dog, such
as illustrated in Nicholson et al. (1971: #49), which always wears a collar.
The ragged edge underneath this collar strongly suggests that the head
was broken off from its body there. The head is modeled with the same
type of rolled clay strips as #51.

Orange-buff pottery; red paint inside ears
12.5 cm. high; 18 cm. wide; 17 cm. diameter
Mixtequilla, south-central Veracruz
Late Classic, A.D. 550-750
Anonymous gift, C-82-112-UFG
This piece is similar to the monumental figure style found in abundance
in El Zapotal, among which are medium-sized standing male figures
wearing animal headdresses defined with rolled clay lines. The thin,
semispherical head sat lightly atop such figures and may have been re-
movable like so many attributes in El Zapotal sculpture. Gerald Liddick
(1986: student paper) concludes that its wearer was a priest of a jaguar
cult. This animal's mouselike ears may be the geometric stylization of this
type of headdress, which does not attempt to represent naturalistic ani-
mals. Quite close in spirit is a figure from El Zapotal (Gutierrez and
Hamilton 1977: figs. 24, 25).

Hollow yellow-buff pottery; red paint bordered by black on clothing
and cheeks; rectangular openings in back of head and body; head
is modeled, body handmade
22.3 cm. high; 16.9 cm. wide; 6 cm. deep
Remojadas, central Veracruz, Mexico
Middle Classic, A.D. 450-750
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack, in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
The smiling and laughing children of Classic Veracruz are important ex-
ceptions to the rule that early art does not represent transient emotions.
Paradoxically, these children may have been intoxicated sacrificial vic-
tims, kept happy to make the sacrifice more propitious (Heyden 1971:
37). While the greatest range of insigniae associated with different gods is
found in the mold-made figurines of the Nopiloa tradition of south-cen-
tral Veracruz during the Late Classic, this figure, with his handmade
body, may represent a continuation of the Remojadas smiling victims
begun in the Early Classic (Medellin 1960: 66 and pl. 39). The red paint
bordered by black on both cheeks suggests the flowers associated with
representations of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of dance, music, and joy.

Solid gray pottery; burnished buff surface
23.7 cm. high; 8.2 cm. wide; 4 cm. deep
Huastec, northern Veracruz and adjoining eastern San Luis Potosi
and southern Tamaulipas, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 250-550
Anonymous gift, C-82-96-UFG
The ballplayer is a common subject for male figurines in northeastern
Mesoamerica, although no architectural ball courts are known from the
Huastec culture. Like this one, an earlier seated figurine wears a U-
shaped belt (known as a yoke) in full-scale stone and holds a thick padded
protector on the back of his hand (Easby and Scott 1970: #139). In addi-
tion, the one here wears a knee protector on his right leg. His bristling
headdress is similar to that worn by a woman, one of the largest figurines
in this tradition from the same period (Easby and Scott 1970: #140).
Unlike Early Classic figurines from elsewhere in Mesoamerica, those of
the Huastec remained handmade.

Dark gray basalt; badly worn except the right side
14.3 cm. high; 8.6 cm. wide; 11.2 cm. deep
Tajin, north-central Veracruz, Mexico
Middle Classic, A.D. 450-750
Anonymous gift, S-82-94-UFG
Rounded stone heads depicting dead men-identified by their closed,
swollen eyes-appear in the Early Classic in Veracruz, often in conjunc-
tion with stone yokes or ball-game belts (see #53). The notch on the heads
fitted around the front of the yoke, which was worn around the waist.
This head maintains the more naturalistic proportions and is not laterally
compressed into an axehead shape (hacha in Spanish), but it no longer
has the puffy eyes of the trophy heads. Instead it has an articulated lower
jaw, which is sunken and recessed below the upper mandible. Low-relief
scrolls flaring back from the closed eyes suggest the highly developed
interlaced scrolls on the stone reliefs of Late Classic El Thjfn, once the
ritual center of the Totonac Indians and the site of at least ten ball courts.

Medium dark gray volcanic tufa; incisions
46.3 cm. high; 19.1 cm. wide; 15.5 cm. deep
Tajin, north-central Veracruz, Mexico
Late Classic-Early Postclassic, A.D. 750-1000
Anonymous gift, S-82-68-UFG
An elegant example of a Late Classic palma (Spanish for palm frond,
which its shape resembles), the form derives from earlier heads, such as
#54. The notch at the base still served to fit over the edge of the ball-game
belt, as illustrated in the South Ball Court reliefs from El Tajfn (Kampen
1972: figs. 22, 23). Incised on this piece is an anthropomorphic face with
goggle eyes, human nose, and earspools; a concave frontal projection
replaces the mouth. Two paws curve down the sides, flanking the mouth.
The back, which would have faced the wearer's torso, is plain, unlike
some more elaborate palmas. The palma had to be removed before the
game could be played; possibly it was then set on the side of the ball court
as a marker.

Fine gray pottery; cream slipped; orange firing clouds; even-
colored tan interior
13.2 cm. high; 18.9 cm. diameter
Southern highland Maya, said to be from Escuintla Department,
Pacific lowlands of Guatemala
Early Classic, A.D. 250-550
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-7-UFG
Bowls of this shape, known as tecomates in Mexico, are among the oldest
Mesoamerican pottery forms, dating back to the third millennium B.C.
They are characterized by a simple incurved rim. Three applied horizon-
tal strips of clay were smoothed into the exterior surface below the rim;
three comma-shaped scrolls, known as feather motifs (Jenette Savell
1986: graduate student paper), drop from below the hands and vanish
imperceptibly toward the bottom of the bowl. Light-colored, smooth-
surfaced bowls, often with resist painting, became very popular in south-
eastern Mesoamerica in the Late Preclassic, where they were known as
Usulutin ware after a province in eastern El Salvador; they continued to
be made in the Classic period. Bowls of this shape were found in the
Early Classic mound at the Tiquisate site in Escuintla (Shook 1965: fig.
2h, i).

Buff pottery; exterior slipped orange and resist painted with alternat-
ing sets of narrow red and broad black vertical bands; three
solid, rounded legs
8.7 cm. high; 24.1 cm. average diameter
Central Maya, said to be from El Quich6 Department, Guatemala
Early Classic, A.D. 350-450
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-19-UFG
Similar in shape to the more characteristic central Maya rounded tripod
bowls with basal flange typical of Tzakol phase, this dish shares with
them the overall proportions and resist paint.

Buff ceramic; straight sides down to a basal angle sloping inward
to the ring-base; orange-slipped interior painted with red rim
band and narrow black rim line; white-slipped exterior painted
with red and broad black lines
10.6 cm. high; 16.7 cm. diameter
Central Lowland Maya, Rio Hondo area, Belize
Early Classic, A.D. 450-550
Purchase, C-69-15-UFG
An abstract spider monkey, possibly chomping on a cigar, crouches
around the outside of the bowl. The animal is identifiable by the black
fur pattern on the body and framing the face, like the lustful monkey
painted on a Uaxactin plate (Smith 1955: fig. 2r). The creature is consid-
ered to be related to the Aztec deity Xochipilli, patron of the arts and
pleasure (Robicsek 1978: 125). The form of the vessel relates this bowl to
those produced in northern Belize (Melissa Grandy 1981: student paper).




White pottery; exterior slipped with yellow, red, and black
9 cm. high; 18.5 cm. diameter
Northern Maya, eastern Yucatan or northern Campeche, Mexico
Early Classic, A.D. 450-550
Purchase, C-75-11-UFG
A beautifully painted pair of Water Birds, their yellow wings out-
stretched in both directions, are separated by vertical red bands. The
mythical Water Bird combined attributes of the white heron and the
cormorant, specifically the snakelike neck and bulbous beak tip (Coe
1975: #2). The bird has been associated with the God G-I of the Palenque
triad and was often depicted on his headdress (Schele and Miller 1986:

Buff ceramic; red slip inside and outside; white background panel
with black outlines surrounding red; kill hole on bottom
6.7 cm. high; 17.8 cm. diameter
Central Maya, Pet6n, Guatemala
Late Classic, A.D. 700-830
Anonymous gift, C-82-86-UFG
Painted around the outside of the bowl are a stylized pair of Water
Birds-a mythical cross between a heron and a cormorant (identifiable
by a thickened bill tip)-executed in fluid red segments visually floating on
a white background. Each presents an intentional double image: one is a
bird with its head occupying half the panel, its flimsy wings the other
half; the other centers on a circular body, the neck arching above and
coming back down to join a smaller head, the eye of which is the flaring
nostrils of the former image. A similarly shaped bowl with a stylized bird
was excavated from a Tepeu 2 context in Uaxactdn (Foncerrada and
Lombardo 1979: 267).

Coarse pottery; white slip and orange, purple, and black-line paint
12.6 cm. high; 11.5 cm. diameter at rim (17 cm. max.)
Central Maya, central Belize
Late Classic, A.D. 600-700
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-23-UFG
The distinctive brandy-snifter shape with nubbins on the curve is charac-
teristic of the Barton Ramie site in the Belize River valley (Gifford 1976:
figs. 661, 129e). The designation to the Tiger Run period is based on the
leveled lip, according to Trish Berk (1982: student paper), who also con-
siders the worn representation to be that of a bird god. The design ex-
tends in a frieze along the shoulder bordered by a rim band and termi-
nated by a set of vertical orange stripes accentuated by a purple stripe at
the right end. The feather extensions stretch the entire width of the

Gray pottery; white slip on exterior (now much eroded); frieze of
orange, red, and black-line paint
11.1 cm. high; 14.9 cm. diameter
Central Maya, northern Belize or southeastern Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 600-700
Anonymous gift, C-82-80-UFG
Two seated figures face large jars of the kind published by Furst and Coe
(1977) and now accepted as part of the Classic Maya enema ritual
(Michelle Beach 1986: student paper). There is a scene with similar con-
tent and fluid Late Classic style from Champot6n, Campeche (Fonce-
rrada and Lombardo 1979: 109). This vertical-sided bowl shape with an
angle break and ring base is most typically Tzakol 3 (A.D. 450-550), as in
#58, but survived into the Late Classic, as seen at Hoyuk in northern
Belize (Pendergast 1968: 381).

Buff pottery; orange slip on exterior with black and red paint;
streaky red painted with broad brush on interior
12.4 cm. high; 17.6 cm. diameter
Central Maya, southern Campeche, Mexico
Late Classic, 8th century A.D.
Anonymous gift, C-82-83-UFG
Three figures sit cross-legged facing to the viewer's left. Each holds aloft a
different item in front of a large narrow-necked jar centered with a large
glyph-possibly Muluc, the ninth day (Michelle Beach 1986: student pa-
per). Each figure wears long rabbit ears, a possible reference to the moon
goddess; Mesoamericans saw a rabbit instead of a man in the moon. On
his back, one figure wears a conch shell, which is traditionally associated
with the old God N, lord of the underworld. Another figure holds a
syringe to perform a ritual enema. The third figure displays a small jar-
perhaps his testament to having performed the ritual; it is the same shape
as the three larger jars to which he will add the contents.

Buff-slipped pottery; red, orange, and black paint
14.9 cm. high; 11.6 cm. diameter at rim
Central Maya, Mexico or Guatemala
Late Classic, 8th century A.D.
Anonymous gift, C-82-84-UFG
The outside of the vase renders two repeated profile heads of the Maya
version of the Mexican rain god Tlaloc (Robicsek 1981: table 14B). The
deity has an upcurling Greek-key snout seen in representations of the
Maya rain god Chac on Yucatecan stone facades. A double scroll emerges
from its mouth. On the back of the god's head are stiff feathers of alter-
nating colors, of the kind later called eagle feathers in the Mixteca-Puebla
style of the Postclassic. Glyphs encircle the vase immediately below the
upper border.



Orange-slipped pottery; red, brown, and black paint
11.4 cm. high; 10.5 cm. diameter
Central Maya, northern Pet6n, Guatemala
Late Classic, 8th century A.D.
Anonymous gift, C-82-85-UFG
Two framed panels enclose profile heads of a version of one of the lords of
the underworld, called God K in the turn-of-the-century Schellhas sys-
tem. A skeletonized, long-nosed god, this aspect of the deity also has a
huge god eye and a beard. An abstracted flower, possibly a water lily,
sprouts from the front of his headdress. The three dots shooting from his
mouth are not substantial enough to be considered smoke, although Ro-
bicsek (1978: 59) has called him the Deity of the Smoking Cigar. Stylisti-
cally this vase is closely related to Dumbarton Oaks vase 35 (Coe 1975)
from the northern Pet6n.

Buff pottery; orange slip on exterior, red, brownish black, and white
16.5 cm. high; 12.9 cm. diameter
Central Maya, Pet6n, Guatemala
Late Classic, A.D. 700-830
Anonymous gift, C-82-76-UFG
On the exterior is a handsome double frieze: the top of glyphs, the bottom
of a stepped grec design. The grecs are combined in pairs facing each
other, suggesting a hill sign or the open mouth of the earth monster. Three
of the five glyphs are of the head type, one of which has the upturned leaf
nose of a bat. Perhaps it represents the month sign Zotz in the Maya
calendar, or it may, instead, have phonetic value.

Buff pottery; dark slip thinly applied to exterior; polychrome painted
11.4 cm. high; 12 cm. diameter
Central Maya, eastern Mesoamerica, probably Rio Hondo area of
Late Classic, A.D. 700-830
Anonymous gift, C-82-101-UFG
The quick, shorthand painting of the glyph band indicates that the
painter was from the eastern Maya region. The Copador style of Copin
and adjacent Salvador rendered glyphs in this style, but the closest paral-
lel for the design comes from the Rio Hondo area, which forms the border
between Belize and Mexico; there, a cup (now in the Liverpool Museum),
with the same diameter as this one, also has a glyph frieze with two fluid
heads separated from two other glyphs by calligraphic C-shapes (Fonce-
rrada and Lombardo 1979: 191).

Highly polished, orange-slipped buff pottery; well-preserved white,
red, and black-on-yellow paint on exterior
14.4 cm. high; 13.2 cm. diameter at rim
Central Maya, central Guatemala or eastern Honduras
Late Classic, A.D. 600-700
Anonymous gift, C-82-78-UFG
The exaggerated cartoon style of the seated male representations executed
in two squarish panels on opposite sides of the vase has been found both in
Tikal, where it coexists with more naturalistic representations, even in
the same tomb, and in Copin, where it has been attributed to the Ulia
River valley (Foncerrada and Lombardo 1979: 97). Distinctive in the
CopAn style is a double outline surrounding the headdress and the legs,
suggesting the artist did not understand the image he was painting. The
equally heavy panels of glyphs that separate the two figures look inept
and even illiterate, recalling the old, discredited idea that the vase paint-
ers copied glyphs without understanding this form. This abstraction
seems most characteristic of the eastern Maya periphery.
Tan ceramic; burnished black slip; interior dirt sediment indicates
it had lain at a 300 angle while muddy water dried
10.8 cm. high; 17 cm. max. diameter (13.8 cm. at rim)
Maya, probably Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 700-830
Anonymous gift, C-82-87-UFG
Wide, carved grooves define twenty-four vertical lobes around the body;
paired stepped grecs bordered by double vertical bands encircle the neck.
This piece is somewhat like a Brownware carved bowl from CopAn Tomb
1-41, of the "Full Classic" (Late Classic) (Longyear 1952: fig. 111b). A
similarly shaped fine slateware bowl with incised gadrooning on the body
below a slightly restricted neck has been attributed to the northern Maya
area (Coe 1980: fig. 94). It is decorated with an arching scroll, of which
our incised stepped grecs are a geometric stylization.



Brownish gray ceramic; black paint accentuates carved surface
11.7 cm. high; 16.4 cm. max. diameter (15.2 cm. at rim)
Northern Maya, ChocholA, YucatAn, Mexico
Terminal Classic, A.D. 830-950
Anonymous gift, C-82-88-UFG
A recumbent Maya dragon is represented in two panels separated by
diagonal vertical bands. Pairs of black-painted vertical bars-like tri-
glyphs in a Classic Doric frieze-separate the seven incised glyphs on the
top band beneath the border. The enlarged squared god-eye identifies
these dragons as an avatar of Itzamna. According to Thompson (1973:
58-65), Itzamna, the supreme Maya god, was equated with the iguana,
and the ceremonial bars held by Maya rulers were in his image. Several
other recently identified dragons resemble this figure, including the Imix
Crocodile (Coe 1975: 19), who bears a water lily on his snout, and the
Bearded Dragon; only one panel of our bowl has vertical incisions in the
lower jaw suggesting a beard, however. Emerging from the rear scroll of
the dragon's body is the profile head of the jester god.

Cutout conch shell segment; jade mosaic bracelets
11.5 cm. high; 4.7 cm wide; 0.8 cm. thick
Maya, Campeche, Mexico
Late Classic, 8th century A.D.
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This gracefully outlined standing male wears the multibanded ball-game
belt, long thigh protector, and kneepad used to cushion the impact of the
heavy rubber ball used in the ritual Mesoamerican ball game (Craven
1979: 18). Additional jade mosaic may have completed the player's head-
dress, which now seems a rough representation of a deer head. A frag-
ment of a horizontal extension protruding behind his right knee suggests a
throne top or architectural riser. An aristocrat probably wore this silhou-
etted piece as an emblem of his participation in the game.

Solid, smooth buff ceramic with micaceous temper; traces of orange
paint on face and yellow on loincloth; legs and right arm broken
off; left arm complete
13.8 cm. high; 4.8 cm. wide; 4.9 cm. deep
Northern Maya, Campeche, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 550-750
Anonymous gift, C-82-102-UFG
Once a beautiful work of consummate naturalism, in which the Maya
could excel, this figurine retains its fluid, graceful slight torsion of the
body and tip down of the head. A rope hangs loosely around his neck,
signifying that he is a captive. His long hair, braided in hanks tied to-
gether by a thick cloth behind the small of his back, may indicate his
status as a sacrificial victim (Schele and Miller 1986: 192).

Solid medium-tempered gray pottery; hand-modeled; face mold-
17.9 cm. high; 8.7 cm. wide; 8.1 cm. deep
Northern Maya, Campeche, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 550-750
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
This artistocratically imposing figure sits cross-legged in the Indian man-
ner, his arms also crossed in self-contained aloofness. Schele and Miller
(1986: 227) cite a nearly identical figure and suggest that he is meditating
before or after a battle. They also point out the iconographic significance
of his facial patterns, including a mat motif-a symbol of royalty-simi-
lar to this figurine. This piece wears flaring jade earspools and a necklace
of drilled tubular jade beads supporting a large shell. His nose, artificially
elongated in the noble Maya manner by the use of putty (Julia Shaw
1982: student paper), is balanced by a short goatee, indicating age.

Buff clay impressed in full figure mold; yellow paint on skin, blue
paint on loincloth; whistle mouthpiece at rear bottom, hole in
midback, which otherwise is smooth
19.7 cm. high; 14 cm. wide; 8.6 cm. deep
Northern Maya, Campeche, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 700-950
Gift of Mrs. A. H. Spivack in memory of Dr. A. H. Spivack,
A powerful presence is communicated by this dwarf figure. It wears the
large spangled or beaded headdress of royalty seen on Nebaj vases, al-
though it is probably not from there (Schele and Miller 1986: 150, 153).
Although many dwarf figurines are from the island of Jaina, including a
large number buried with children (Cook de Leonard 1971: 59-63), they
are not restricted to that locale. Kathleen Mulholland (1982: student pa-
per) notes that one from Palenque (Ruz 1952: 49) also wears a beaded
headdress of a type found on Oaxacan urns, called the "Goddess of the
Beaded Turban," of the Late Classic. The closest parallel is a handsome
figure in the Stendahl collection (Groth 1960: 32), which has a similar
turban with asymmetrical strips wrapped around it and three large disks
symmetrically placed at the edges. A pair of balls on the chest may indi-
cate the type of pectoral ornament this figurine has lost. A masklike at-
tachment around the lower face of this piece is the type usually associated
with ritual skin flaying, especially in the adjoining Veracruz area.


Hollow coarse-textured orange-buff pottery; mold-made; no original
firing holes visible; drilled hole in base for dowel; broken hole at
the left temple and on right side
16.8 cm. high; 7.1 cm. wide; 7 cm. deep
Late Classic, A.D. 700-950
Anonymous gift, C-82-90-UFG
Monkeys behaving like humans are a common aspect in Maya art. This
figure is dressed like a male instrumentalist: he wears a long loincloth and
a fringed belt and collar and carries what appears to be a rattle. The
entire figurine may have served as a rattle, for an unrelated sherd was
found inside the hollow body. The modeling of the original mold seems
crude and insensitive compared to Jaina figurines and perhaps suggests
that this figurine was intended not for burial but for ceremonial use.
Mold-made figurines have been found throughout the Maya lowlands,
including Alta Verapaz and Palenque.

White stucco modeled over coarse aggregate; traces of red paint
on the face, blue on headdress band
26.4 cm. high; 17.1 cm. wide; 10.2 cm. deep
Northern Maya, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 600-950
Anonymous gift, S-82-66-UFG
This portrait head represents a ruler of a Maya city. Possibly he is an
ancestor of the ruling house that commissioned the structure to which this
head was once affixed. A large central floral ornament appears in the
tiered headdresses of stone heads from Kabah (Pollock 1980), dating to
the Terminal Classic; however, the more naturalistic modeling of this
stucco head suggests it belongs to the Late Classic. The furrow in the
center of the brow, the heavy lips, and the strong chin all communicate a
realistic likeness, even though, like Egyptian portraits, the face has been
simplified and idealized.

White stucco with stone tenon protruding from rear; dark red paint
on face and eyes, blue on lappet of headdress
27.6 cm. high; 16.5 cm. wide; 19 cm. deep
Central Maya, southern Yucatan Peninsula, probably Campeche
Late Classic, A.D. 600-800
Anonymous gift, S-82-67-UFG
This tenoned head is from the cornice decoration of a palace structure
such as that at Sayil (Pollock 1980: 89). It has the characteristics of an old
god in the Maya pantheon: the large squarish deity eye, the "Tau" tooth,
and the protruding lowered brow (Francis Janes 1986: student paper).
Our piece has lost the raised scroll between the brows which, along with
the "Tau" tooth, identify it as the Sun god (Parsons 1980: 205), and the
eyes lack the incised patterns found on other sun deity representations.
Only the headdress has the blue color considered characteristic of things
divine. The face itself is related to the living world, according to Merle
Greene's study of color iconography (1985: 17-18).

Pitted white limestone with flattened base; back, left side, and
top have been broken off
16.2 cm. high; 11.1 cm. wide; 13.3 cm. deep
Maya, possibly Yucatan, Mexico
Late Classic, A.D. 600-950
Anonymous gift, S-82-93-UFG
The limestone medium and the architectural right angle on which the
face has been carved suggest that this head comes from a Puuc-style ar-
chitectural facade, such as the more abstract images on structure 1 at
Labna (Pollock 1980: 16). The face emerges from bird helmet headdress
as if from the mouth of a divine bird, a common reference in Maya art
and costume to divine possession. Most of the more naturalistic architec-
tural heads from the YucatAn are larger, however. Because of its small size
and flattened underside, our head may have once been part of a small
brazier such as that attributed to the Cotzumalhuapa style by Kidder and
Samayoa (1959: 120); in that piece a human face also emerges from the
mouth of a creature. The headdress on this piece has protruding circular
eyes and a rectangular block nose, but it is too fragmentary and geometri-
cally stylized to be identified further.





Coarse reddish clay; tan slip on surface
10.8 cm. high; 16.8 cm. wide; 15.4 cm. deep
Southern Maya, said to be from Escuintla Department, Guatemala
Late Classic, A.D. 725-825
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-11-UFG
Large, lidded, Late Classic burial urns made of coarse, heavy orange
pottery are found throughout the Maya area. The lids are often decorated
with effigy busts or heads (Savell 1986: graduate student paper); wide,
flaring headdresses frequently frame the faces. Stylistically this piece does
not have the crisp features of lowland Maya deities, but it may represent
a sacrificed human whose dead eyes have been covered with a T-shaped

Buff pottery; slipped with bright orange, worn off on inside bottom,
probably from use; each leg has firing clouds and a pellet rattle
8.6 cm. high; 17.9 cm. average diameter
Central Maya, said to be found in El Quich6 Department,
Early Postclassic, A.D. 950-1200
Gift of Irvin Ebaugh, C-74-18-UFG
The only representations on this attractive piece are on the three legs,
each of which terminates in an animal head with an upcurling snout,
apparently a simplification of the common serpent of the Classic Maya.
Although a noneffigy bowl of this shape was reported from Early Post-
classic Zaculeu, in highland El Quich6 Department, Jenette Savell (1986:
graduate student paper) concludes that it was imported from the low-
lands to the north. The Postclassic Maya lowlands often produced red-
ware tripods with head effigies in their tapered legs (Chase and Chase
1985: 10, fig. la, from Lamanai, Belize; fig. Ic, from the Pet6n of Guate-
mala). Part of a widespread Postclassic form of deep dish, this shape may
have had its original inspiration in lower Central America, where such
long legs ending in effigy heads were in use contemporary with the Clas-
sic era.

Photographs by Roy C. Craven, Jr.
and the Office of
Instructional Resources, University
of Florida



University Presses of Florida
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611