Palma with Maize God Receiving a Human Sacrifice, between 250 and 950

  • Veracruz, Precolumbian

Basalt

  • Framed: Overall: 19 1/8 × 8 1/2 × 4 1/2 inches (48.6 × 21.6 × 11.4 cm)

City of Detroit Purchase

47.180

On View

  • Native American S131

Department

Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas

  • Mythology
  • Classic
  • Totonac
  • Relief
  • Carving
  • Basalt
  • Plants
  • Costume accessories
  • Ball game equipment
  • Necklace
  • Headdress
  • Figure (representation)
  • Veracruz
  • God
  • Monkey
  • Sacrifice

This Palma is a replica in stone of a piece of palm worn as protective gear around the waist of the players in a ritual ball game played between two teams representing the dualistic cosmic forces of the universe. The captain of the losing team was killed as a sacrifice to placate the gods and to assure the continuing fertility of the land. Here a monkey-headed god stands on the chest of a sacrificial victim. Behind him are stalks of corn, the staple food of ancient Mexico.

Provenance

1947-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Published References

Bulletin of the DIA 29, no. 3 (1949-50): 56-58, (ill. p. 57). 100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 84-85 (ill.).

Rights Status

Veracruz, Precolumbian, Palma with Maize God Receiving a Human Sacrifice, between 250 and 950, basalt. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 47.180.