Were They Enslaved? A New Look at Maya Figurines, James F. Haley '50 Memorial Lecture
Maya figurines of the 8th century from the island of Jaina, off Yucatan, Mexico, long admired for their lifelike, poignant, and sometimes amusing characteristics, reveal a complexity of Maya practice rarely seen in other media, such as painted ceramics or monumental sculpture. The figurines can be seen through a variety of lenses: recent archaeology has provided rich new contexts for consideration and extensive examination of hundreds of examples in Mexico, Europe, and the United States makes it possible to see previously unrecognized roles and rituals, as well as patterns of facture and distribution. Additionally, identification of patterns of costume and accouterment offers fresh insights into this elegant figurine tradition.