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Lot 0130C
Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Veracruz culture, ca. 500 to 700 CE. A volcanic palma stone, carved by hand, in the shape of a dramatic male wild turkey, standing, its massive plumage spread behind it. Its head is bent downward, with large eyes, a segmented, curved beak, and a large crest rising from the top of the head and back of the neck. Strangely, the bird has human-like hands, which grasp something that is also caught between its beak, giving the impression that the bird is in the process of eating prey. Size: 4.5" W x 8" H (11.4 cm x 20.3 cm); 10.55" H (26.8 cm) on included custom stand.

The true palma was a heavy piece of leather worn by athletes during the Mesoamerican ballgame; stones like this one were carved to represent it in sculptural form. Stone palmas may have been given as awards or displayed in temples; the relationship between the ballgame and religion remains unclear, but there certainly seems to be a connection. The turkey theme relates to concepts of sacrifice, death, and rebirth, the struggles of the ballgame.

See a similar example at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/307649

Provenance: private southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s

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#140796

Condition

Upper part of wing has a chip from it, as does the lower body. Both appear to be ancient losses and are smooth. The surface is weathered, with light deposits, but much of the detail, especially of the upper body, is well preserved.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Veracruz Stone Palma - Turkey Form

Estimate $2,500 - $3,500Dec 6, 2018
Louisville, CO, USA