Anonymous: Embracing Couple (A.D. 700-900)

(Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, USA)

A terracotta figurine made by an unknown Maya artist. This beautiful figurine is a Jaina-style figurine, named after Jaina island - a small island on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Jaina island was used as a burial site for the Maya elite and most graves contain 1 or more figurines, usually placed on top of the body the deceased. The figurines depict daily life such as warriors, priests, nobles, weavers, dancers etc. This one depicts a young women and an old man. The man leers at the young woman as he lifts her skirts touches her thigh. The woman lifts her knee and touches the groin of the man while she is reaching for the face of the old man. It is possible that the are a portrait but it is also suggested that the man represents the Maya god N or L (the god of ) while the woman represents the Maya moon goddess Ixchel (she is associated with sexuality, fertility etc). The piece also functions as a whistle, why is also functions as such is unknown. Figurine from A.D. 700-900.