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    Monumental Veracruz Masked Priest

    C. 600-900 AD
    Buff Terra Cotta
    36" tall x 12½" Wide x 21" Deep

    The figure sits on a three legged stool with bent legs and arms straight with the hands on the knees. He wears a heavy banded collar, beaded bracelets, and a belt at the waist with a bordered loin cover suspended. On the chest, the rib cage is exposed and the sternum indented. The man wears the skull of a monkey, its nose cavity being empty and the jaws disjointed and not meeting each other, the teeth exposed and no signature of lips. His eyes are large spheres, his hair is cropped straight over the forehead, thick earflares plugging the lobes, and wears an elaborate headdress. The ceremonial head covering is comprised of a long horn shaped core, a strap attaches a frontal ornament of a crescent shaped flange and has two square sided and beaded undulating scrolls emanating that reproduce a Chac snout and tongue. A vertically hanging flange showing large circles and dangles suspends over each shoulder and is attached at the head strap.

    The priest sits during a ceremony and observes the rituals while awaiting his role. Monumental statues as this were created to be placed throughout the city as constant reminders of both politics and religion. Friar Diego de Landa, when studying the Yucatan Maya during the Conquest, documents the constant ritual of creating effigies throughout the year and the natives transporting them, seasonally, from one direction of the city to another, sometimes intentionally destroying the objects and creating huge piles of the broken pottery. The Veracruz were prone to the same intentional destruction of their effigies and a huge amount of fragmented heads and torsos exist . The example here, rarely found so complete, would most likely, been saved destruction because it was buried within a temple upon new construction and had been an offering interred in a gap between an existing temple wall and a larger structure being built over the same site.

    The statue is in an excellent state, being reconstructed from nearly all original large pieces with only a few details being modern. This lot requires third party shipping.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,757

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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