Post Lot Text
LATE PRECLASSIC JADE HEAD
OLMECOID, CA. 600-100 B.C.
The unusual head, of portable size, in a transformation ritual wearing a long-beaked half-bird mask representing either a Moan bird or a Serpent bird over the eyes and nose with simplified human feature below; in pale green stone.
The Maya world was in their creation myths conceived of as a four-quartered land floating like a water-lily pad on a great sea. Their human realm was the layer of land caught between the Sky and the watery Underworld (Xibalba), the place of death. Images of birds were related to sky and land ultimately to life itself.
The human wearing the bird mask occurs in both Olmec and Maya art. The use of jade itself is also full of meaning. Again, it relates to sea-sky-land.