Archaeologists dig all over the world for clues to various cultures. On the island of Jaina (HY-nah), off the southeast coast of Mexico, ARCHAEOLOGISTS like me have learned many things about the Mayan culture by looking at the many clay figurines found there.
The value of figurines like this lies not only in what they tell us about ancient Mayan culture but in what they tell us about the artists who made them. Hand modeling gives artists freedom to develop their own forms and styles, and each is as unique as the person who made it. As an art historian, it is this evidence of the artist's hand that I look for in works of art.