Overall: 20 x 6.8 x 14.3 cm (7 7/8 x 2 11/16 x 5 5/8 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1945.33
Julie Mehretu: Portals (FRONT International: Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows)
The interlaced designs on this head’s forehead are similar to a Maya symbol for rulership.
This enigmatic head is associated with an ancient ballgame played both for sport and ceremonial purposes on Mexico’s Gulf Coast, in present-day Veracruz. It may represent an elite ballplayer or ballgame patron—the forehead is incised with interlaced designs similar to the so-called mat motif, a Maya symbol for rulership. Such heads are known as hachas (Spanish for “axe”) because they often taper to a thin edge at the front, giving them the appearance of axe heads.
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