Statues for all
July 18, 2007 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me identify these South Amercian statues?

I inherited these from an uncle, they are at least 30 years old, just from that alone. I have no idea if they are authentic or not, but find them hugely cool. I'm curious on how to tell if they are real or neat fakes. Many are labeled Mayan, though the 'raccoon' is labeled Toltec, and the candle holder Aztec. Several Mayan have 'huehvethango' written on them (by my uncle). The mug, fish, and candle holder all have a central open ended space in the middle, like a candle holder. The raccoon has something inside, much like a rattle. I suspect this came from when it was made.
I, unfortunately, know no more about these. Any information would be great, especially if there are any recognizable deities here. More pictures at here
posted by Jacen to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Well, if they are truly "South American" and at the same time supposedly Mayan, Toltec and Aztec, then no, you have fakes.

If they are Mexican or Central American, then they might be real however lots and lots of fake statuary is sold and has been sold to travellers for many, many years.

How much did your uncle pay? It is said that the cheapest statues are the real ones because the price of fakes has to cover labor and materials while the cost of real ones only covers the finder's fee.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:13 PM on July 18, 2007

Seconding everything Pollomacho said. Usually, vendors selling "found" artifacts will claim that they were dug up by farmers, etc, and they will be very expensive (most of the ones I saw for sale in Iquitos were around $150 u.s.) These are almost always definitely fake.

That said - they could totally be real. There are tons of recovered artifacts that are sold every year from that area (central and southern mexico). To my eyes they all look tolteca - except for the jaguar which is could be absolutely anything. Could be yakumama.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:53 PM on July 18, 2007

I apologize- the SA designation comes entirely from me, and means.. pretty much everything south of Texas. I really have no information on these except what is written on the statues themselves, which is where I got the Mayan, ect designations. Any ideas on how to get a fake/not fake verification?
posted by Jacen at 9:58 PM on July 18, 2007

It's been years and my google fu is failing me. I seem to remember looking at the statues under a black light. If they were "unearthed" after centries, there should be hair like roots growing into them. This is easly detected under a black light because the roots glow.

If the piece appears to be a flat color under the black light, it may be a fake.

I had brought some small statues to a local musuem, they were very helpful in determining the newer ones via the black light system.

Good luck.
posted by JujuB at 10:14 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

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