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Eccentric, Rosalila cache, Copan (Artifact 90-11) (CPN P-2706)

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 finely crafted bicephalic eccentric was made by one of the more skilled people in the chert workshop, most probably by the master. Almost no manufacturing difficulties were encountered—just a very few on the dorsal side (principal figure facing right) that did not inhibit final finishing. There were no errors detected on the ventral side. At first glance one might think that the ascending projection from the lower back or seat of the principal figure has the tip missing. But that end is finely finished, and it needed to end there so the long descending element could finish in a free-standing point. Favoring the descending element over the ascending element could indicate that the former, with its oblique notching likely symbolizing lightning, carried more importance and power than the ascending one.

Length (height) 435 mm. Width 175 mm. Thickness 16 mm. Weight 610 grams. The stem joins the seated principal figure where the leg is decorated with fine notching. Behind the back of the principal figure is a long ascending feature decorated with many notches, the straight-in notches of the top two-thirds presumably indicating feathers. The lower third of the notches are descending oblique, in a clear and deliberate change in notching. In contrast, the principal figure's outline is crisp with no notching other than that creating the nose, lips, and chin. The arm is held upward, as with some other eccentrics in this cache, and the hand turns toward the face in what likely is a meaningful gesture. Three notches create three fingers of the hand. At the top of the forehead is a bold K'awiil bifurcated cranial smoking torch. The torch element is unusually large and well-fashioned compared to the others in this cache. Above the smoking torch are two elements of headdress decoration, one with oblique notching occupying one third of the sequence, and straight-in notching for the remaining two thirds. At the very top of the artifact eleven prominent oblique notches create eleven angled teeth. The descending long pointed element of the headdress has less prominent but still very clear oblique notching.

Above the large smoking celt of the principal figure is a secondary anthropomorphic face that also has a K'awiil smoking torch at the top of the forehead. The headdress decoration is in the form of oblique notching, beginning with more prominent notches and diminishing toward the back.

The final preparation before caching involved painting some cinnabar on the eccentric and then wrapping with blue, green, and brown fabric and with barkcloth to complete the sacred bundle.

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