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Object Name: Jaina figurine
Artist: Maya, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, or Honduras
Date/Era: Late Classic, 600-900 C.E.
Medium/Materials: Terracotta, pigments
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA; Gift of Barbara and Joseph Goldenberg
Accession Number: X2010.16.4
On view in this case is a type of Maya figurine known as “Jaina,” named after an island of the same name, off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Various inland Maya groups used this island as an offshore necropolis, and countless figurines have been extracted from burials there. Many are whistles or hollow rattles containing small beads. Their life-like poses and naturalistic features incorporate both mold-made and hand-modeled elements and offer us glimpses into how Maya peoples displayed status through dress and adornment, including extraordinary clothing, headdresses, and jewelry. The Goldenbergs’ collection reveals the great diversity of representations within the Jaina corpus, which encompasses an array of activities and emotions and a multitude of social types and mythical figures.
Gallery Wall Text, Fowler in Focus: Radiance and Resilience – Arts of Africa and the Americas from the Goldenberg Collection, 2011