This Palma is a replica in stone of a piece of palm worn as protective gear around the waist of the players in a ritual ball game played between two teams representing the dualistic cosmic forces of the universe. The captain of the losing team was killed as a sacrifice to placate the gods and to assure the continuing fertility of the land. Here a monkey-headed god stands on the chest of a sacrificial victim. Behind him are stalks of corn, the staple food of ancient Mexico.
Artist Veracruz, Precolumbian
  • Palma with Maize God Receiving a Human Sacrifice
Date between 250 and 950
Medium basalt
Dimensions Overall: 19 1/8 × 8 1/2 × 4 1/2 inches (48.6 × 21.6 × 11.4 cm)
Credit Line City of Detroit Purchase
Accession Number 47.180
Department Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
On View Native American S131, Level 1 (see map)
1947-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA 29, no. 3 (1949-50): 56-58, (ill. p. 57).

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 84-85 (ill.).