CENSER

MAYA – Chiapas – Mexico

500 – 900 A.D.

  • Height : 63.5 cm
  • Width : 39.2 cm
  • Thickness : 23 cm

Brown-red terracotta with remains of polychromy.

Censer composed of a central cylinder tube decorated with anthromorphic and zoomorphic figures, the whole being framed by two lateral wings decorated according to the pastillage technique.

The main pattern is composed of a central anthromorphic mask depicting one of the aspects of the solar god, “K’inich Ajaw”, at the time of his nocturnal journey to the underworld. The parted lips reveal two lower canines and the tip of the tongue. The beard is partly destroyed. The eyes are large and are emphasized by a thin fringe. The prominent arcs of the eyebrows are forming two large stripes. The ears are adorned with ear spools. This central mask, inspired by a representation of the underworld god, is topped with a coiffure composed of a jaguar’s head cut horizontally in half, itself being emphasized by a tiara where the celestial bird is resting with his wings spread open. In Maya cosmogony, when the solar god travels through the underworld, he is transforming into a jaguar, looking normal again at daylight. The vertical wings wrapped around the cylinder are adorned with various elements that are related to the sky.

Publication :

  • Galerie Mermoz's catalogue and exposed on the stand 11 for the XXVth Biennale des Antiquaires - Grand Palais - Paris - from September 13th to September 22nd 2010, p.49.
  • Galerie Mermoz's catalogue and exposed on the stand 24 for the XIIIth Biennale des Antiquaires - Grand Palais - Paris - from September 25th to October 12th 1986.


Provenance : Formerly in the Yvon COLLET Collection since 1968.