Mayan Stone Ceremonial Celt

SKU PF.4688

300 AD to 900 AD


10″ (25.4cm) high





Gallery Location


Whether on a cylinder vessel or a great mural, Maya art essentially depicts ritual. The impressive Maya ceremonies, recorded for posterity in their art, were crucial events in the lives of the kings, and consequently important to society as a whole. In Maya believe, an actual ritual ceremony is directly connected with the art which represents it; both conceived of as a power process that transformed spiritual beings into corporeal beings on the human level, and allowed people and objects to become the sacred beings they represented. This very beautiful ceremonial Celt is both a visual record of a moment in ritual, and a power object in its own rite. It shows two full-length figures, male and female, facing each other. The male is dressed in ‘modest’ kingly attire, while the female is nearly naked. Her nudity is all the more striking when contrasted to her extraordinary headdress, flowing like a waterfall of feathers and exotic ornaments to the floor. The couples, which are most likely a king and his queen, stare intently at each other. She has her left hand on his shoulder, while his right hand holds provocatively onto her loincloth. This obvious sexual gesture, very tender and sensuous, suggests the ceremony depicted may have been related to fertility, or even the marriage of the couple. The beauty of line and form is truly a marvel; created with a delicacy only a master is capable. Pinprick holes around the edges made with a sharp instrument may have been the artist’s outline. The entire composition is structured with such precision and balance, perfection and harmony, that energy exudes both from the couple and the space surrounding them. It is as if they are enclosed in their own self-generating power source. No wonder the Maya regarded such objects with awe. – (PF.4688)
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