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Eccentric, Rosalila cache, Copan (Artifact 90-12) (CPN P2707)

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):

Without a doubt this eccentric was manufactured by the most highly skilled artisan in the chert workshop—that is, by the master. This magnificent eccentric has four anthropomorphic faces, hence it is a quadracephalic eccentric in the terminology of Clark et al. (John E. Clark, Fred W. Nelson, and Gene L. Titmus, "Flint Effigy Eccentrics." In Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks, edited by Joanne Pillsbury, Miriam Doutriaux, Reiko Ishihara-Brito, and Alexandre Tokovinine. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., 2012). All faces have more deeply notched details than the other eccentrics in the Rosalila cache. Its sheer size, at 532 mm in length, its magnificent details, and the lack of manufacturing difficulties or errors renders it a most impressive artifact.

Length (height) 530 mm. Width 220 mm. Thickness 19.5 mm. Weight 1104 grams.

The stem has three pronounced curves, with that sinuosity surely referring to the serpent leg and foot of K'awiil. The stem has a thin zone of cortex at the very bottom. The lowermost anthropomorphic face looks backward in the dorsal view (principal figure facing right) and has a finely-notched extension below the head that is decorated with fine oblique notching. Above the forehead is an apparent small K'awiil bifurcated smoking torch, with more headdress decoration above that. Two oblique notches create three "teeth" that may represent lightning. Above that a curving element projects, composed of four curves. The notching on this eccentric is unique among these nine in that all is oblique; no notching is straight-in. All are suspected of signifying lightning, which would be appropriate given the K'awiil representation.

Slightly above the lower face, on the opposite side, is another face. It is an anthropomorphic face in the unusual orientation of looking upward at the principal figure. Facial details are difficult to discern, due to being largely covered by fabric on both sides. As with the other three faces, it too has a K'awiil smoking celt in the forehead. The notching in the headdress is increasingly oblique toward the forehead.

At the top of the long torso, and just below the face of the principal figure, is an arm terminating in a small hand. The face is carefully shaped, and the forehead has a smoking torch at the top. Above the torch is a curving headdress decoration with twelve oblique notches creating thirteen angled "teeth."

A horizontal bar from the back of the principal figure's headdress carries an elaborate design with an anthropomorphic face with a K'awiil smoking torch and an arm with tiny fingers on the hand. The fingers are reminiscent of those on the three less-elaborate eccentrics (Artifacts 90-3, 90-4, and 90-9), and it is possible the master who crafted this specimen did the final touch-ups of those three eccentrics. Below the arm is a series of oblique notches creating prominent downward-pointing "teeth." Those culminate in a short curving element, with a longer curving element on the other side. The headdress is moderately elaborate with two flaring components, each with subtle oblique notching. Once the flaking was completed, cinnabar pigment was added, and then the sacred bundle was created by wrapping the eccentric with blue, green, and brown fabric, and then doing a final wrapping with barkcloth.

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