Females are depicted in pre-Columbian art in a variety of media. One form of prehispanic portraiture of women in society is as clay effigy figurines. Clay figurines are especially common during the Preclassic period of Mesoamerican culture.

Naked woman on rollout of polychrome Mayan vase.

Naked woman assisting the resurrection of the Maize God in the form of an idealized eternally youthful male.

The complete scene is quite complex and shows the sacred canoe paddled by the deities. The role of women in Maya society can best be studied from rollout photographs of the polychrome vases.

It is rather warm in the Peten so it is understandable that the females do not wear much clothing.

Preclassic clay figurine of a female, Guatemala, Popol Vuh Museum of Mayan art and archaeology.
Copyright FLAAR Photo Archive

Preclassic clay figurine of a woman from the Costa Sur area, inland from the PacificOcean, Guatemala, Museo Popol Vuh, Universidad Francisco Marroquin.

Females are often depicted as three-dimensional clay effigy figurines during the Preclassic period.

The study of iconography is a crucial aspect of Mayan art history and archaeology. Thus it helps to have photographs of professional quality.

Both of these photographs were taken with a large format Dicomed Field Pro 4x5 digital scanning camera adapted by Better Light. The detail from the Maya vase is taken from a rollout by Nicholas Hellmuth.


Related links
Women on Codex Style pottery/ females on polychrome Mayan vases
Fine-line incised Maya bowl, results of another 70mm rollout camera, a system made in Belgium
Directory of links to other Maya vase rollouts
Gateway to Maya vase rollouts in Maya-archaeology
Gateway to Maya vase rollouts on another web site, www.digital-photography.org



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