A Mayan ceremonial stone disc
Lot 5127
A Mayan ceremonial stone disc
Sold for US$ 13,420 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Pre-Columbian Property of various owners
A Mayan ceremonial stone disc
Circa 250-650 A.D., the thick limestone carving in shallow relief on one side, with a figural image surrounded by glyphic text.
diameter 25in, depth 3 1/2in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    A California estate; Butterfields & Butterfields, San Francisco, circa 1985

    The disc was probably a small altar, possibly set into the floor of a plaza or ballcourt. The central image, while a bit crude and eroded, shows a kneeling war captive, bound at the wrists and wearing some sort of emblematic device on his back (a name?). This posture and the overall style of the carving makes it clear that the stone dates to the Early Classic period, probably around 500 A.D. Even though the inscription does contain a date, it is difficult to decipher.

    The inscription begins on the upper right at "3 o'clock", where four small dots appear in a line. This is the number coefficient of the opening day sign (Glyph A). The text of sixteen glyphs runs counter-clockwise around the stone. The date looks like it might be 4 Imix 9 Keh, but the day sign remains illegible. The event being commemorated is some sort of dedication, perhaps of the building or court where the stone was originally set, or of the altar itself. The word is pet, meaning to "encircle," which is obviously suggestive of the stone's shape.

    A personal name appears in block G, an animal head located just in front of the captive's bound hands. This could possibly be the name of the Tikal ruler K'an Chitam, but it's not an obvious identification. The text goes on to repeat the pet verb and then gives what might be a place name or temple name. This and the rest of the inscription is very difficult, but near the very end of the text we might have a glyph for ballcourt - again an architectural reference.

    In summary, a late Early Classic altar or marker, probably from the central lowlands of the Maya area. It may make reference to an important early ruler of Tikal, but this is not necessarily good evidence of its original provenience.
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.