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Artist Culture
Classic Veracruz
Late Classic period, 600–909
Veracruz, México, North and Central America
Stone & mineral
Current Location
On View, Gallery 114
23 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 2 5/8 in. (60.3 x 21 x 6.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Morton D. May
Public Domain
Object Number
This fan-shaped "palma," a piece of protective gear worn during the ballgame, shows a pair of bat-like creatures on one side and a pair of intertwined snakes on the other. The sharply curved edges of the bat wings echo the double curve at the end of the "palma," while the knotted serpents evoke the scrollwork that is characteristic of much Classic Veracruz sculpture. The small notch at the base of the "palma" would have served to help attach it to a yoke. Stone versions like this were probably worn ceremonially, and served more as emblems of rank or political office rather than actual ballgame equipment.
Everett Rassiga Inc., New York, NY, USA

- 1966
George C. Kennedy, Los Angeles, CA, purchased from Everett Rassiga Inc. [1]

1966 - 1978
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from George Kennedy through agent Everett Rassiga [2]

1978 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Morton D. May [3]

[1] A letter dated July 26, 1966 from Everett Rassiga to George Kennedy indicates Kennedy had previously purchased this object from Rassiga [May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[2] A letter dated August 1, 1966 from George Kennedy to Everett Rassiga instructed Rassiga to sell the palma [for Kennedy] to anyone who "displays a wild enthusiasm for this piece." An invoice dated September 22, 1966 from Everett Rassiga Inc. to Morton D. May documents this purchase, listed as "7072 / Veracruz Palma" [letter and invoice in May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[3] A letter dated September 19, 1978 from Morton D. May to James N. Wood, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, includes the offer of this object as part of a larger donation [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, December 13, 1978.
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