The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, April 26, 2018

Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth acquires two monumental Maya ceramic sculptures
Censer Stand with the Head of a Supernatural Being with a Kan Cross.

FORT WORTH, TX.- The Kimbell Art Museum announced today the acquisition of two rare Maya Palenque-­‐style ceramic censer stands. Typical of the Maya late Classic period (A.D. 600–900) and dated to about A.D. 690–720, Censer Stand with the Head of the Jaguar God of the Underworld and Censer Stand with the Head of a Supernatural Being with a Kan Cross will be on view in the Museum’s north galleries on Sunday, April 21st. Admission is always free to view works in the Kimbell’s permanent collection.

Palenque-­‐style ceramic censer stands (incensarios) are among the largest and most sophisticated free-standing sculptures created by Maya artists. There are very few in either public or private collections in the U.S. Measuring nearly four feet tall, the Kimbell censer stands are exceptional for their remarkable condition and superb quality of execution.

“The sculptures’ monumental scale and wealth of symbolic detail command the viewer’s attention,” commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “I foresee these works quickly becoming hallmarks of our already choice collection of Maya art.” Since their documented importation into the U.S. from Mexico on August 6, 1968, the two censers have been in private collections in Europe and the U.S. From 1985 to 1999, they were on view in the galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts, as a long-­‐term loan.

Maya Censer Stands
The sophistication and craftsmanship demonstrated in these stands are indicative of Palenque, a major Maya city-­‐state located in current-­‐day Chiapas, Mexico, that flourished in the seventh century. Ceramic censers were an important component of ritual paraphernalia and ceremonial life at Palenque. Censers were used both to represent and venerate divine beings, primarily the deities of the Palenque Triad. Censers were in two parts: a stand with a tubular body that served as a support; and a brazier-­‐bowl that was placed on top and used for burning copal incense. While the functional brazier was undecorated (and is now often missing, as is the case with both Kimbell acquisitions), the stands were elaborately embellished with a wide variety of iconographic elements. The thematic arrangement depicted on these two censer stands is referred to as the “totem-­‐pole” style and is characterized by a vertical tier of heads modeled in deep relief on the front of the cylinder. The side flanges are decorated with motifs of crossed bands, serpent-­‐wing panels, foliation, knotted bands, stylized ear ornaments and pendant ribbons applied in low relief. Traces of the original blue, red and white pigments are still present on the surface. Though not necessarily conceived as a pair, both censers were undoubtedly made by the same highly skilled court artist.

For the Maya, the center of the universe was the Axis Mundi, or World Tree, which had roots that grew from the depths of the sea under the earth and branches that rose to support the heavens. Symbolically, the tubular censer bodies formed cosmic trees, which were believed to be the vehicles that transported deities through the cosmos during ritual acts. The principal head most often featured on the censers is the Jaguar God of the Underworld (GIII), who represents the sun god making his nightly journey through the Underworld from dusk to dawn.

Censer Stand with the Head of the Jaguar God of the Underworld
The lowest head is a version of the Maize God, with attached leaves containing corn kernels. Above the Maize God’s head is the principal head of the Jaguar God of the Underworld (also known as Ahau K’in, the sun god), who represents the sun at night during its underworld journey from dusk to dawn. The Jaguar God head is capped by Itzamye, the serpent-­‐bird that, according to Maya mythology, was killed in the branches of the World Tree just prior to the creation of the present world. Artistically, the shift from the Jaguar God of the Underworld to Itzamye symbolizes the surface of the earth and the interface between the Underworld and the celestial realm. In the headdress of Itzamye is a small figure that may be a version of the Jester God, a signifier of rulership. Above Itzamye is an unrecognizable head, which is capped by Itzamna, the paramount sky god of the Maya, who resided at the top of the heavens. A small jaguar is perched in his headdress.

Censer Stand with the Head of a Supernatural Being with a Kan Cross
The lowest head is an unidentified reptilian, surmounted by a head that may be a human in the guise of a deity, probably the Jaguar God of the Underworld. This head has an open mouth with a cut-­‐off jaw. The inside of the mouth is marked with a Kan Cross (X) and resembles the entrance of a temple. As in the Jaguar God censer, this principal head is topped by Itzamye, the serpent-­‐bird, indicating a symbolic shift to the branches of the World Tree (Axis Mundi) in the celestial realm. The two upper reptilian heads are versions of the Jester God, who resided in the upper heavens. The side flanges of both censers are decorated with a variety of motifs that include (from top to bottom) jewels with bird-­‐shaped heads and ribbons, stylized crocodile ears, crossed and knotted bands and ornamented ear spools.

Today's News

April 13, 2013

Carbon dating may help end a century-long debate about the Mayan calendar

Sotheby's New York to auction the world's most valuable book: The Bay Psalm Book

Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth acquires two monumental Maya ceramic sculptures

Sacred Hopi masks auctioned in Paris after legal bid fails; Sold for more than $1.2 million

Never-before-seen photographs of music and fashion legend Madonna on view at W New York

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center surveys four decades of Polaroid's influence in fine art photography

Romanian artist stages 'forceful' show inside the vast palace of megalomaniac former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu

Cornerstone laid for new Palestinian culture museum in Bir Zeit near Ramallah

Exhibition of a new sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Pastor opens at Regen Projects

New development of Tate Modern gets five million pound Wolfson Foundation funding

1930s collection of large-scale trains joins Sterling Associates' April 24 auction lineup

Christie's online-only: Vintage couture sale features iconic designs with star status

Solo exhibition by Lebanese artist Ginane Makki Bacho opens at Ayyam Gallery Beirut

Jeanne Bertoia's private doorstop collection to be featured at 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show

Patricia Claro's first solo show in New York opens at Frederico Seve Gallery

The Other Art Fair: Spring 2013 details announced

Auctions America announces exciting list of attractions for its Auburn Spring Collector Car Weekend

Frieze New York 2013: Sculpture Park announced

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful