Maya female ceramic figurines from the island of Jaina in Campeche, Mexico, produced in the Late Classic Period (600–900 CE) are admired for their lifelike, poignant, and sometimes amusing characteristics. Long assumed to be elite women or moon goddesses, these figurines reveal a complexity of Maya social life, especially for women, that is rarely seen in other painted ceramics or monumental sculpture. They also offer insights into the culture of Jaina Island, including disturbing enslavement practices. Mary Miller will discuss various interpretations of Jaina figurines—including previously unrecognized roles and rituals for male and female figures—based on recent archaeological research and the analysis of hundreds of figurines from collections in Mexico, Europe, and the United States.
2021 Tatiana Proskouriakoff Award Lecture
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