From: Legion of Honor Limited Edition: 67 Exhibition: Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 35" x 72" (88cm x 182cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Mel Brooks was right, it is good to be the king. Well, it certainly was in the Mayan court, where the king ruled from luxurious palace chambers furnished with elaborately carved and painted objects.
This banner features one such beautiful object, a ceramic censer stand with a human face. The detail is simply stunning, showing the shadows within the precise carving and the traces of turquoise color that hint at what must once have been a colorful piece. Made in Palenque, Mexico around the 8th century, the object’s beauty is still evident over a thousand years later. This ceremonial object was used to hold a small vessel containing burning incense. Stands like this were often decorated with images of deities, and were placed on the steps of temples where their scented smoke evoked divine powers. The original piece measures about 33 inches in height—on the banner the object is enlarged in gorgeous detail to almost six feet in length!
This particular stand was unearthed near Chiapas, Mexico, home to the ancient city of Palenque. The king of this court was Pakal, who ruled from AD 615 – 683, followed by his sons who ruled through the 9th century. Archaeologists unearthed Pakal’s tomb in the 1950s, and the area has since proven to be one of the best preserved sites, and a rich source of objects and information about the Maya.
The other side of the banner draws upon the turquoise highlights of the censer stand to feature a rich, turquoise blue background with off-white text that reads “Legion of Honor/Los Antiguos Mayas: el arte de las cortes/ 4 de septiembre 2004 – 2 de enero 2005.” The museum’s logo is included as are small logos of numerous sponsors, including Televisa, National Endowment for the Arts, and Univision which line the bottom of the text side. Another version of this banner features text in English.
The ceramic censer stand with human face from AD 700-800 is in the collection of the Museum de Sitio de Palenque in Mexico. These banners were hung around San Francisco to promote the exhibition, Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya which was held at the Legion of Honor, September 4, 2004 through January 2, 2005. It was jointly organized with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.