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  • Mayan Toad?

    I didn't buy this but it's interesting and I don't know squat about these things? I think it looks like tourist trinket but I could be wrong? I'm posting it to possibly show what a knock off looks like? Thanks for all information up front.

    Von

  • #2
    Hey Von - Not even remotely familiar with Mayan artifacts but you're right. That's a neat looking thing. Looks like soapstone. Price seems to be a bit low if it's authentic. ...Chuck
    NE Central Tenn - Any day on this side of the grass is a good day. -Chuck-

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    • #3
      Yea $40 is cheap for a real artifact. I did some reading and to me this doesn't look like a toad? It looks more like a tree frog? One other red flag is the indentations on the bottom look smooth almost like it was fired in kiln not carved. Like I said I know nothing about these. Maybe someone that knows what they are looking at will chime in?

      Von

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      • #4
        The rock is not soapstone but probably is a Jadeite or other Jade family minerals. I would say it is something made for the tourist trade. The price is in keeping with the tourist trade and not for the collector of genuine Mayan artifact which would sell for much more. Depending on the source, provenance, etc., etc. etc., if genuine it may or may not be legal to buy or possess. Legality depends on many factors. Mexico, and most all Central American countries have strict laws regarding finding, keeping, selling Mayan, Aztec, Ulmec, Toltec or whatever group of artifacts. Currently there are legal proceedings against museums in Europe and perhaps in the USA, also for the return of artifacts illegally removed from archeological sites and sold.

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        • #5
          Hi thanks for the information.

          When I first saw this piece I thought it might be jade but it's not heavy enough and doesn't have the luster. I also collect rocks and minerals and have several nice specimens. My wife also has several jade bracelets and it's just not the same. I don't think it's glass either. It's hard to tell in the pictures but it looks to have some sun fading on one side. Is there any material that is lighter than jade or glass that could be used?

          Von
          Last edited by Von; 02-10-2017, 10:44 PM.

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          • #6
            hey at the very least i bet it was a decendent of a mayan who still made it, thats gotta count for something right? lol.
            call me Jay, i live in R.I.

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            • sailorjoe
              sailorjoe commented
              Editing a comment
              There are hundreds of thousands of Mayans still living today and they all live mostly in southern Mexico, Guatemala,Belize and western Honduras. It is possible that one of their craftsman may have made something for the tourist trade. Not knowing the kind of stone and its origin it could have been made in China also.

          • #7
            unless it says CHINA underneath that sticker!
            call me Jay, i live in R.I.

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            • #8
              Maybe it was made by a Troll in RI?

              Von

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              • OnewiththewilD
                OnewiththewilD commented
                Editing a comment
                lol! funny guy!

              • -=METACOM=-
                -=METACOM=- commented
                Editing a comment
                lol gave me a chuckle

            • #9
              Your not the only one on the sauce tonight and I can give as good as I get! LOL

              Seriously I'm trying to figure out if this is worth buying even if it is a pig in a poke?

              Von
              Last edited by Von; 02-11-2017, 02:15 AM.

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              • Havenhunter
                Havenhunter commented
                Editing a comment
                $40? Nah...

            • #10
              Hi Von. I have a few remarks about your concern that may help with a decision. First off, I assume that this is a modern reproduction of a an ancient theme or subject. Nothing wrong with that at all. That is done all over the world. I have been to and traveled fairly extensively in the countries that I mentioned in my reply to OWTW's post. And I have visited many of the restored ancient Mayan ruins that the governments of those 4 countries operate as national parks. Often Mayan craftsmen or their families set up places to sell their wares under permit from the government. There may be a great variety of things they sell that varies from baskets of many sizes to wooden and stone carvings/sculptures of many themes. Often these people take a bus into the touristy center from their village several miles away and set up a street side stand or may walk around and hawk them to people who look like tourists. I have bought such reproductions because I wanted to have something made by a local carver.These people don't try to pass it off as an antiquity. Only that it is native made and resembles things their ancestors made or may have made. In Guatamela and Belize its probably safe to buy from them when inside the national parks or near the entrances. In Yucatan, maybe or maybe not. It depends on where it is.
              There is a difference between the possibility of buying a genuine native made object in an area that only receives a small to moderate tourist business than in a really big tourist area which receives hundreds or thousands of visitors daily like Chichen Itza or near a cruise ship port of call. If I was at a major tourist attraction then I probably would not buy something there if what I wanted was a genuine native made hand craft. When there are rows and rows of people selling things being sold by people who are obviously not Mayan in appearance and there are lots of objects that look very similar (for instance, several tables selling small green frogs) then I would not buy them. I won't detail why I think it is easier to get "ripped off" in Mexico than in Belize or Guatemala.
              There is one thing you can be assured of and that it is not an antiquity. Whether it was made by a local Mayan craftsman or in a sweat shop paying women and kids 5 or 3 dollars a day then who knows. At least it may be "locally" made and benefit local folks. Or it could be made in an Indian sweat shop where the kids may get pennies a day. Who knows? Regarding the price. If one bought it from a local craftsman at a table operated by his family then the price is always negotiable. Something like that may ask for $20 or $30 but may be able to haggle down a good bit less. If this were the situation with this piece and someone got this item in Mexico or Central America then he is an additional "middle man" and may want to profit off of something that was bought on a whim and now has no further interest in it. If I were a collector of frog figurines and wanted one made in Central America and knew the provenance of the piece to be a genuine Mayan native carved handicraft then $40 ain't much to pay since you didn't have to fly down there or take a cruise ship to get it. It all depends on your reasons for wanting it.

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              • #11
                Something I don't think you ever mentioned. Where did you see it? Did you handle it and take the photo? Did you talk to the owner?

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                • #12
                  I hear what you are saying about the sweat shop thing. I found it at a local antique store. I did handle it and take the pictures. That's why I'm sure it's not jade. The guy that owns the booth it was in wasn't there but I hope to catch him there this week. I'll just have to wait and see what he has to say about it? If he tells me he bought it himself under reasonable circumstances I may buy it.

                  Von

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                  • sailorjoe
                    sailorjoe commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If it is green and you are certain it is not jade or jadeite then I wonder what kind of mineral it is. Jade as you probably know is very hard as rocks go. In order to carve it and polish it you have to use a material just as hard or harder. Modern man has access to cutting tools made of diamond and a few other materials harder than Jade. The only thing that the old time Mayan carvers had was just as hard was more jade and perhaps chert if geologically available in the region. I asked that question in a jewelry store in Antigua, Guatemala and I was told that they used jade to cut and polish jade.

                  • Havenhunter
                    Havenhunter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you plan to buy it, I would certainly haggle on the price. But I guess you knew that. 😊

                • #13
                  Oh yes I like to haggle and don't understand why many folks are put off by it?

                  Von

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