Although there are significant collections of Mayan art in various museums around the world, I seem to come back to visit the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago roughly once a decade. Each time I find that I have forgotten what I saw before. Every time I’m blown away by the pieces I see.
The pieces which caught my eye this time turned out to be from the classical Mayan period, lasting roughly from 200 to 800 CE. The piece which you see in the featured image is essentially undated; in fact it could have been made at any time during this period. The liveliness of the figure caught my attention. The museum considers this to be one of its best pieces and gives it a prominent place in its website. It is described as a story teller, a description with which I found myself in instant agreement.
The second piece was a fired clay figurine, whose head you see in the photo above. The attention paid to modelling the face probably implies that it belongs to a general, and not a common soldier. In any case, it is as impressive a portrait (in its diminutive way) as the famous statue of a general in Xi’an