Articles
A MAYAN JADE HUNCHBACK
Many ancient cultures celebrated the people with a curvature of the spine, also known as hunchback humans, as direct messengers to their gods.  And some cultural entities, even today, revere living hunchbacks as actually being immortals.  The ancient Mayan people certainly did just that based on the number of wall paintings and ceramic humpback human images they left for us to see and study.  This culture began in prehistoric Central America and Mexico about 3000 BC and thrived until just after the Spaniards invaded their land in the sixteenth century AD.  And they left, for us to enjoy, many wonderful ethnic creations in obsidian, limestone, basalt, pottery and jadeite including this Mayan jade hunchback. 
The Mayans dug their jade stone in the Motague River Valley which lies within the boundaries of the current nation of Guatemala. These people we now call Mayans apparently treasured jadeite more than gold based on the number of jade items they left for us versus objects made of the yellow mineral.  Jade has a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7 with the hardess mineral on earth, the diamond, rated at a 10.  And the Mayans, at that ancient time, only had simple stone hammers, chisels, and leather string saws along with sharp quartz sand in order to cut and work and polish the dense jade. It is believed today that these people were fond of the mineral, especially in the green colors (even though it came in pink, lavender and blue, etc.), because they believed the viridescent hues to be their god’s signals for a good upcoming agricultural harvest especially that of maize.   So it would be natural for the Mayans to honor their celestial deities by creating a  godlike effigy from green jadeite. 
This jadeite effigy of a hunchback man is 12 5/16 inches tall and is a dark green color under the ebony added patination.  That is a big and heavy chunk of rare jade.  You will noticed in the photos that this statute appears to be black but a careful examination will show the green jade beneath the black overlaying film.  This thin inky coating is probably from many, maybe tens of thousands,  of ancient natural oily and dirty hands touching and rubbing the effigy over the course of hundreds of years.
This idol was found in the Yucatan region of Mexico and is believed to have been created by one or more Mayan craftsmen during the Classic Period of AD 500-800.  As far as can be understood today, the actual living human hunchbacks were considered to be shamanistic in the Mayan culture so this sculpture could have been considered to have been a priestly totem. The carving is of a slightly bent over hunchback man with a typical enlarged, curved  and protuding spine.  The back has prominent carved shoulder blades and rounded buttocks though both these anatomical features are well worn probably because of this representative of a god being yoouched and stroked and fondled for many years.  The head of the pseudo man features a carved feathered headdress and large ear spools covering the ears.  The facial features show eyes and eyebrows, a philtrum below the nose, two thick lips and the typical large Mayan type probiscis as is seen in many of their paintings.  Two arms are carved with hands, each of which has five digits. The right arm is bent across the belly while the other drops down the left side of the body.  Other Mayan idols have been found with a bent arm extended across the body and the current interpretation is that this is meant to signify a king or priest. The slightly bowed legs are carved close together and both feet have five toes.The headdress has the remains of some applied red pigment which is believed to signify a society leader or priest.  The artifact was legally brought into this country in th 1950's by the late Dr. Frank Sanders of Conway, SC and I was able to acquire it from his heirs.
WOW -  what an idol!  This large and rare green jadeite figurine would have originated as a chunk of the stone that was mined and moved several hundred miles to the Yucatan to be laboriously carved into a humped over god/human likeness.  And during its ancient lifetime, it would have been touched and caressed and revered by an untold number of actual humans.  It is a rather simply and heavily distressed icon – this stone image of a curved back hominid – this true treasure of ancient art - this pseudo person in the form of a jade Mayan hunchback.
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Barker, Graema                                                                          1999
    COMPANION ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARCHAEOLOGY
DeMarist,Athur                                                                           2005
    ANCIENT MAYA: THE RISE AND FALL OF A RAINFOREST CIVILIZATION
Easby, Elizabeth K.                                                                     1968
    PRE-COLUMBIAN JADE FROM COSTA RICA
Howard, Kim B.                                                                          n. d.
    "Jadeite", GEMOLOGY CANADA
Lange, Frederick W.                                                                    1993
    PRECOLOMBIAN JADE
Stuart, George E. & Gene S. Stuart                                              1977
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Wagner, Elizabeth                                                                      2006                          
"Jade: The Green Gold of the Maya", MAYA: DEVINE KINGS OF THE
  RAINFOREST