Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Vera Cruz / Veracruz, ca. 700 to 900 CE. Carved on both sides, from a single piece of stone presenting chocolate brown hues, a ceremonial hacha depicting a human skull in profile, of an overall flat form to resemble a symbolic axe but at the same time providing strong details, as the sculptor delineated so much of the skeletal framework protecting the brain including the frontal bone, orbital plate, nasal bone, maxilla, mandible, even the occipital bone. A stupendous example for anyone who appreciates human anatomy and/or the ancients' penchant for the macabre! Size: 8" W x 10.375" H (20.3 cm x 26.4 cm)
Hachas were associated with the ritual Mesoamerican ball game, though they were not actually part of the player's equipment. Instead these were worn during ritualistic ceremonies related to the game. The name stems from the fact that they were believed to be axe-heads; hence the term hacha (Spanish for axe). Based on ceramic figures and imagery on stone carvings, some authors have proposed that hachas were meant to be attached to yugos (yokes). Others suggest that some of the hachas could have served as ball court markers.
Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection
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