Ceramic figurine, hollow, with the shape of a dwarf with achondroplasia. He sits cross-legged with his short arms slightly raised, wearing a long skirt and short coat. His necklace has a star-shaped cut shell pendant. A simple headband made with a tied scarf decorates his head. Remains of red paint can be seen on his skin as well as blue pigments on his garments. The head has three holes and a slot.
This figurine was repatriated to Guatemala in 2006.
Dwarves were important members of Maya society, generally associated with rulers and members of the Court. They are portrayed serving food, playing musical instruments, holding sacred objects (and mirrors) for the ruler, and as diviners and scribes. The role they played had a strong relationship with cosmology and mythology, especially with the Maize God, who was assisted by a dwarf when he placed the three stones of the Sacred Hearth at the beginning of Creation. For the Classic Maya, the dwarves were seen as the living embodiment of the supernatural helpers of the Maize God, who continued their sacred duty in the royal Court. Some Mayan peoples of today believe there were earlier creations that were populated by a race of dwarves who now reside in the interior of the earth, living below the ruins of ancient cities. Dwarfs show a wide variety of headgear, from feathered headdresses and headbands made of simple cloth, to round balloon turbans, a typical attire for high rank characters, especially related to gods and humans associated with Creation and the occupation of scribes.
To learn more, you can read the work of:
Miller, Virginia E. 1985. "Dwarf motif in Classic Maya art", in Fourth Palenque Round Table, 1980. Elizabeth P. Benson, ed. pp. 141-154. San Francisco, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. Published by PARI in digital versión at: http://www.mesoweb.com/pari/publications/rt06/Miller1985.pdf
García Valganón, Rocío. 13 de marzo de 2009. “Enanos en la Corte”, published in digital versión at the website of MAYISTAS: http://mayistas.blogspot.com/2009/03/enanos-en-la-corte.html
Prager, Christian. 2001. "Court Dwarfs, the Companions of Rulers and Envoys of the Underworld", en Maya: Divine Kings of the Rainforest, Nikolai Grube, ed. pp. 278-279. Colonia, Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft.