Late Classic period
Object Place: Guatemala, Belize, or Mexico
1.6 x 10.8 cm (5/8 x 4 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Fine-grain limestone or alabaster: specular hematite pigment
Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)
This miniature sculpture replicates the round, monumental altars found at many Classic period Maya sites. The circular top rests on three stone spheres, and may make reference to the Three Stone Place where the ancient Maya gods created the cosmos as recounted in the Maya epic “Popol Vuh.” The pictorial and hieroglyphic imagery incised on the altar’s top may pertain to a ritual associated with the planet Venus.
This tiny sculpture replicates the monumental altars found in ancient Maya cities. The top rests on spheres symbolizing the three stones of the cosmic hearth. The altar’s imagery pertains to the planet Venus and perhaps to its role in the creation myth.
About 1971-1973, purchased in Guatemala by John B. Fulling (b. 1924 – d. 2005), Lighthouse Point, Florida; 1987, year-end gift of John B. Fulling to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 20, 1988)
Gift of John B. Fulling