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Pre Columbian Mayan Pair of Fine Molded Ceramic Figures (2)

This pair of contemplative warrior figures are replicas of one another and bear a solemn, imperturbable presence. They would have been used as part of a personal shrine in which the worshipper believed that he was channeling the psychic qualities and traits of the warrior archetype. There is a small, mysterious dwarf or attendant figure to the lower left of each warrior, signifying a helper who bears some type of assistance. The warrior’s elaborate costumes, which include large, ornate headdresses, textile robes, and imposing necklaces, likely meant to depict gold, are all signs of stature and importance, and indicate that these warriors represent shamans or other high ranking personages. These hollow pottery figures were each made from the same half-section mold, which would have been made of two slabs of clay that were split in half to reveal the finished sculpture. The two figures possess a beautiful natural color variance in the tans and browns on their surfaces, which originally would have been identical in color due to the use of the same clay. This type of color striation and variance can only occur with long amounts of time and reveals the warriors’ ancient nature. Slight traces of white surface pigment. Size: 7-3/4 inches H. each. + custom mounts. Provenance: Ex. private Florida collection, acquired in the 1960s. A similar figure appears in Pre-Columbian Art: The Morton D May and the St Louis Museum Collections, by Lee A. Parsons, 1980, p.198, plate 304.Read more

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Fine Nayarit Pottery Seated Couple (2)

Matched pair of terracotta figures, seated male and female, she is holding a small object, the male also holds a ball. Painted geometric decoration in white and yellow. Nice examples. Size: 14 inches H. ea. Provenance: Ex. Dr. George Wald, Cambridage MA, Acq 1960s. Recipient of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the retina. Born in Brooklyn, he went to Manual Training High School and was the first member of his family to go to college, and his tastes in art combined an acquired love of high culture with a deep appreciation for objects made by village craftspeople for local or ceremonial purposes – things that were not only beautiful but meaningful, and even useful. Most of his collection was assembled in the 1950s and 1960s, first from galleries and dealers in Boston, New York, London, and Paris, then during his travels to attend conferences around the world. In particular, he made annual trips to Mexico through the 1960s, driving all over the country with his closest friend, the potter and sculptor Edwin Scheier ( They visited archeological sites, stayed with local collectors and enthusiasts, and searched out village artists who were extending the ancient traditions. Wald’s collection was always a labor of love – he was searching for objects that spoke to him, that told stories, and that he wanted to live with, day in and day out, year after year. He occasionally loaned pieces for museum exhibitions, but never sold one during his lifetime. He regarded the carvings and sculptures as friends and companions, part of his life and his family. After Wald’s death in 1997, his wife Ruth Hubbard continued to treasure the collection and kept it intact. Following her death in 2016 (covered in the New York Times Magazine’s annual “Lives They Lived”:, their children retained much of the African art, but decided to let the pre-Columbian and some other favorite pieces find new homes.Read more

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