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Eccentric, Rosalila cache, Copan (Artifact 90-7) (CPN P2763)

By Peabody Museum on Sketchfab

From "Individual Descriptions of Bifaces and Eccentrics" by Payson Sheets. Appendix to Protecting Sacred Space: Rosalila's Eccentric Chert Cache at Copan and Eccentrics among the Classic Maya by Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle, Payson Sheets, and Karl Andreas Taube (Monograph 2, Precolumbia Mesoweb Press, San Francisco, 2016):

This tricephalic eccentric was made by one of the finest artisans of the workshop, presumably the master. There are virtually no step or hinge fractures, and there is not a single error detected in shaping and final finishing of all components. The centerline is straight from the stem through the torso and head of the principal figure, and all three faces are finely modeled and have elaborate headdresses.

Length (height) 390 mm. Width 235 mm. Thickness 13 mm. Weight 433 grams.

The base of the stem is composed of cortex, presumably CaCO3, 18 x 7 mm in extent. Moving upward, the first features encountered are sets of angled teeth pointing downward, created by oblique pressure flaking of notches, which are here interpreted as symbolizing lightning. On the left of the top (ventral)side (i.e., principal figure facing left) the four angled notches create five projecting "teeth" that point downward. On the opposite side five notches create six downward-projecting teeth.

The principal figure has a rectangular projection from the upper chest. It is possible that it is an attenuated reference to an arm. However, it is not a failed flaking of an arm, as there is insufficient room to create an arm, given the proximity of the headdress of the secondary figure in front of it. The principal figure's face was created by relatively deep notching for the nose and lips, over 5 mm in diameter in both cases. This is the apparent diameter of the master's fine pressure flaker. The upper back of the head has four angled notches creating three downward-oriented "teeth" likely referring to lightning. The headdress itself is large and consists of a central portion decorated with six elements. The first, above the forehead, is a projection with three curves and eleven teeth created by ten notches. This is followed by a very small projection and then a moderately sized projection with three elements. Toward the top is a long thin projection with three elements. This is followed by two major components, each with many notches and "teeth" that probably depict feathers.

The face in front of the principal figure has rather deeply notched nasal and lip features, like the other two on this piece, and three components to its headdress. The back component has an obtuse angle with many notches probably simulating feathers. The component in the middle has angled notching, and that is followed by straight notching on a moderately sized projection overhanging the face. The very end of that projection broke off after the eccentric was placed in the cache, and was recovered at the bottom of the cache. It might have broken when it was being placed in the cache. Or more likely, it broke during a strong earthquake as the cache components were being jostled around. The missing portion is only a few millimeters long.

The face behind the principal figure has prominent oblique notching along the neck (mentioned above) and along the back of the headdress. A large bifurcated smoking torch symbol decorates the forehead, presumably a reference to the K'awiil deity. It appears appropriate that the most prominent oblique notching in the headdress of the three heads is on this one. The headdress is composed of a curving element with direct notching along the outside curve.

After the eccentric was manufactured, a considerable amount of cinnabar was painted onto it, and then it was wrapped with blue, green, and brown fabric, and then finally in barkcloth.

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