University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Maya Fun Fact: Human Sacrifice

By: Simon Martin

The Maya are well known for their achievements in counting and documenting time, but do they deserve a reputation for human sacrifice? For ancient Americans this was a ritualized practice that was considered a payment to the Gods for the gift of life. The Aztec are believed to have conducted mass human sacrifice, but the evidence we have for the […]

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Statue of a Yogini [Object of the Day- #60]

By: Ashley Harper

This bust is a life sized carving, in the round. You can see damaged areas have erased details that would have included a fuller, articulated chest and more developed arms.  It was found at the temple of 64 Yoginis in Jabalpur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh (central India). A Yogini can embody a range […]

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African Sculpture from Mali [Object of the Day #59]

By: Ashley Harper

This sculpture displays a woman seated on stool with child. It is made of wood and iron. A child appears bent across the woman’s body, head and feet as well as resting in her arms. The woman’s stool is supported by eight figures, most likely her ancestors, around a central column.  She is, perhaps the Mother […]

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Gold Plaque from Sitio Conte, Panama [Object of the Day #58]

Plaque

By: Bob Thurlow

One of five large gold plaques or breast-plates found on a long-departed Panamanian chief, the one pictured above might be the most impressive. It is entirely intact (unlike this one, which seems to have had a bite taken out of it…), and the fine details of the creature’s tails and claws are impressive. The teeth, […]

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Egyptian Wand [Object of the Day #57]

Wand

By: Ashley Harper

This wand was carved from a hippopotamus tusk and decorated with nine magical figures including a lion, frog, gazelle, vulture and a cat.  Each of these figures are seated on top of a hieroglyph. The lion head is seen at larger end of the tusk and a jackal head decorates the pointy end of the […]

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Andean Jaguar Effigy Mortar [Object of the Day #56]

Andean Jaguar Effigy Mortar

By: Bob Thurlow

Consider the jaguar. Oft overshadowed by its more regal and striped cousins, this big cat is just as impressive. As the dominant non-human predator in most of the Western Hemisphere, jaguars have been held in esteem for thousands of years, resulting in a wide-range of artwork … but you would never know it by visiting […]

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