A Mayan obsidian eccentric blade, c. 600-900 A.D.

A Mayan obsidian eccentric blade, c. 600-900 A.D.

Code: 2504


Description: A bifacially flaked obsidian blade of eccentric form with prominent points at each end together with a central point, all on the same side. Complete and in good condition.

Size: 97 mm/3.8 ins. in length

Culture: Mayan 

Date: c. 600 to 900 A.D.

Provenance: Ex Dr H.A. Fawcett Collection, and with his collectors mark.

Background: Dr Hugh Alderson Fawcett (1891-1982) built up an important collection of ancient implements, weapons and ornaments that eventually numbered some eight thousand items. The bulk of this collection is now in the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, but Fawcett previously sold or traded many pieces in order to improve his collection. His distinctive monogram and careful recording of provenance makes his pieces readily identifiable.

Notes: The function of Mesoamerican eccentrics can be obscure but this may be a representation of a bat. Such eccentrics were used as offerings and to appease and communicate with the gods of the underworld (known as Xibalba).  For this reason bats, scorpions and centipedes, all denizens of caves, regarded as entrances to the underworld, are common eccentric forms. The Mayan name for the underworld - Xibalba - translates as 'the place of fright', which shows the terror the place had in the Mayan imagination.