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Circular Plaque with Four Trophy Heads and Solar Motif
On this plaque, four severed heads and a solar design form a cross and create a cosmogram defining the center of the world. This cosmogram is reiterated with four concentric circle motifs that might represent other celestial bodies. Whoever holds or displays this plaque symbolically rules the center of the world and wields great power. Imperial Phase circular plaques are bilaterally symmetrical on one or both axes, use design elements similar to one another, and differ from earlier plaques in size and complexity. Their functions are unknown, but all have loops cast onto their backs to allow them to be attached to shields or other devices.
A section of the proper lower right portion of the circumference was deliberately removed in ancient times. Perhaps it was ritually killed to allow its spirit to accompany its owner, or perhaps that portion was removed as a keepsake of the deceased ruler. The loss is not disfiguring because the carefully balanced composition draws the whole image together. This is always the product of good design and a tribute to the skill of the artist.
from O'Grady, Myth & Melancholy: The Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. O'Grady Collection of Southern Cone Art (Notre Dame, 2014)