Mayan hachas, or hand axes, like this work, which depicts a human figure with earplugs who wears an elaborate avian hacha, were usually carved from an unidentified gray stone (possibly basalt). This work displays an abstract avian (bird) figure and human arm clothed in feathers. Birds such as eagles and parrots were associated with fire and the sun, which Mesoamerican cultures acknowledged as vital for sustaining all life in the universe.
Hachas, yokes, and arm/knee bands were worn by players in the Mesoamerican ball game for protection and to bounce the rubber ball with more speed, and might have been believed to channel supernatural power to the wearer by transmitting the strength of these creatures to the ballplayer.
Private Collection, Miami, FL;
[Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY];