Showcased by Galerie Mermoz

Ceremonial Axe Representing a Macaw

MAYA Mexico – Guatemala 600 – 900 AD.
H : 27,8 cm – W : 21 cm – D : 4,7 cm

Former Samuel Dubiner collection since 1965

Galerie Mermoz collection since 2007

This bifacial sculpture is a hacha from the Maya region. It was used in ceremonies surrounding ball game tournaments, a ritual sport practiced throughout Mesoamerica, referred to as Pok-a-Tok by the Maya, associated with other objects known since colonial times as yugo (yoke) and palma (palm).

It owes its name to the Spanish who named these artifacts after their shape, as they did not know their function. All hachas, however, do not adopt the same flat and beveled configuration, some are heads in the round, which probably evolved over time to lead to the two-dimensional hachas, comparable to this work.

This very simple ceremonial sculpture represents a macaw, a majestic parrot that was highly sacred in Mesoamerica, as evidenced by the many representations found throughout Mexico and beyond, whether on murals, sculptures, or in codexes, as well as its presence in numerous myths. The Maya area, in particular, offers multiple images, associated with royalty and the Sun God, probably because of the large population of red and green macaws that reside there, especially in the form of hacha type sculptures. The presence of the animal on such works indicates the great value of the latter and their belonging to members of the elite, who were the only ones entitled to display the attributes of the divine bird.

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