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Maya Clay height 15.4 cm. Probably from the Island of Jaina. Elite woman with blackstrap loom. Elite woman were often portrayed as Ixchel the Goddess of Weaving.

Statue of an ancient Mayan warrior in a jungle setting in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. © David A. Kamm

Late Classic, Maya. Kneeling noble woman holding a lidded jar, A.D. 650–750. Ceramic with polychrome.

Seated bearded man Mexico Maya lowlands Jaina Island Late Classic period 600-900 CE Ceramic

Maya fertility offering. This beautifully crafted piece shows the great skill of Maya sculptors, who were the best in all Mesoamerica. Small and very realistic, the work above clearly represents a woman of high status, and may have been modeled from a real person. Her headdress includes a jaguar, a symbol of great power. In some Maya city-states such as Palenque, women could become rulers.

Tlazolteotl is the Aztec Goddess of the Earth and Sex. Tlazolteotl was called “the eater of filth“, from her aspect as the Great Priestess. It was said that at the end of life, Tlazolteotl comes to the dying who confess their sins to her. She cleanses the soul, devouring the sins (the filth). As a Mother Goddess, she is often depicted giving birth.

Campeche, Mexico, Maya Classic Period, 700 a.d.