Stories of Women from Jaina Island Maya Figurines
On Thursday, April 8, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and Harvard Museums of Science & Culture will present the 2021 Tatiana Proskouriakoff Award Lecture by Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute. She will discuss various interpretations of Jaina figurines, courtesy of Miller,—including previously unrecognized roles and rituals for male and female figures—based on recent archaeological research plus the analysis of hundreds of figurines from collections in Mexico, Europe and the United States. Maya female ceramic figurines from the island of Jaina in Campeche, Mexico, produced in the Late Classic Period (600–900 CE) are admired for their lifelike, poignant and sometimes amusing characteristics. Long assumed to be elite women or moon goddesses, these figurines reveal a complexity of Maya social life, especially for women, that is rarely seen in other painted ceramics or monumental sculpture. They also offer insights into the culture of Jaina Island, including disturbing enslavement practices.