Human head effigy jar

Maya
Late Classic Period
A.D. 600–850


Object Place: Guatemala, Southern Highlands

Dimensions

Overall: 22.86 cm (9 in.)

Accession Number

2008.190a-b

Medium or Technique

Earthenware with cream and specular hematite slip paint, and blue pigment

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Earthenware

Lidded jar modeled in the form of a human head, half-fleshed and half-skeletal.


The skeletal imagery on this jar symbolizes the human life cycle and that of maize, as the bare maize cob was likened to bones without flesh.

Provenance

Mid- to late 1950s or 1960s, acquired by José Luis and Ethelbert Molina, Miami [see note 1]; late 1980s, sold by the Molinas to Lands Beyond Gallery, New York; after 1995, sold by Lands Beyond to Hy and Shirley Zaret, Westport, CT; 2008, gift of Shirley Zaret to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 25, 2008)

NOTES:
[1] According to information provided by Lands Beyond Gallery to the MFA, the Molina collection was formed between the mid-1950s and 1960s.

Credit Line

Gift from the Collection of Shirley and Hy Zaret