Palma: Eagle Attacking a Skull
10 7/16 x 4 3/4 x 6 11/16 in. (26.5 x 12 x 17 cm)
Veracruz; made in Mexico
Medium and Support:
R. T. Miller Fund
Location: Currently on view
In the Mesoamerican ballgame, players on the losing team were sometimes sacrificed by decapitation in rituals following the game. Skull racks displaying decapitated heads were often located adjacent to ball courts. This ceremonial stone palma (a stone version of a piece of the ballplayer’s equipment) depicts an eagle attacking a human skull. This is a common motif in ballgame imagery and may reference the flesh-eating birds that gorged themselves on the bodies of the sacrificed victims.
[Gallery label text, 2009]
Adelaide Frank, Leonia, NJ and Mexico; purchased from her by Brummer Gallery, New York, January 25, 1936 [catalogue number N3755]; purchased from them by the Gallery in 1944
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This object was included in the following exhibitions:
This object has the following bibliographic references:
Article Author: Schilling, Susan E..
Article Scope: Article and reproduction.
Susan Dodge Peters, ed.
Memorial Art Gallery: An Introduction to the Collection.
New York, New York: Memorial Art Gallery in association with Hudson Hills Press, 1988.
Page Number: 252-253
Article Scope: Reproduction only.
Rochester Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester Handbook.
Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1961.
Article Scope: Mention.
Magnum Opus: The Story of the Memorial Art Gallery, 1913-1988.
Rochester, NY: Memorial Art Gallery, 1988.
Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum, 1940.
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