Maya Temple Model Incensario

1200 AD to 1440 AD

3 3/4″ tall by 6″ long   

An incredibly rare Maya temple model incensario from the great Post-Classic city of Mayapan in the Yucatan. These can be found in museums all over the region, but they are always in the simple box form. The decorative elements make this piece exemplary.

The incense burner is in the shape of a two story temple. The first floor has doorways and entrances in the front, sides and back. The second floor is sealed except for the hole on top. This is the section that held the burning copal incense. The entire facade of the vessel mimics the style of actual Maya temples decorated with elaborate scenes involving their Kings and Gods. This piece shows a Maya ruler wearing an elaborate headdress while flanked by two opposing Kukulkans. If you look closely, you can see a head in profile emerging from the jaws of each. This can also be seen in Codex style ceramics and is important iconography. 

The tabs on the sides were used for attachment around the neck. It would have been worn as a pectoral during important ceremonies with the smoke rising into the face of the wearer. 

Ex John Stokes Jr. collection of New York City. Acquired in May of 1962 from Richardo Hecht. 




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