Student Ekphrastic Response to gold pendants at the Kimbell
Warriors, Two Deer
Panama, Conte style.
Late Classic to
Postclassical period, 600-
Kimbell Art Museum,
by Ava Baksh
Art Appreciation, July 2013.
The smell of the earth fills my nose as I hear a strange
sound in the distance. I am exhausted. It’s been such a
long time. I see liquid red running before my eyes. I
blink and my tears have yet to fall. Where is my
beloved? Why can’t I see her? I cannot even
remember what she looks like…
I remember the different shades of green found in the
lush Petén rainforest. Lush was the food, the bountiful
harvest of maize — our sustainer. Why didn’t anyone
put maize in my mouth? How am I to survive the
journey that lies ahead?
I remember the exquisite shades of brown. My city
Cancu`en — hard, rough brown. My wife, soft, smooth
brown. Her skin shone as if the gods had mixed gold
into her flesh. Gold the color of the sun — my sun…
Gold, the color of the talisman that I gave to my
beloved to protect her from evil. The high priest
advised me to have one made for both of us. But why
should I have worn the two deer heads when I already
had the twin warriors mounted on my chest?
The two deer heads failed us. Maybe it was because I
chose to wear the warriors, the symbol of my status.
How foolish was I? I hope that the high priest is burning
in Xilbalba because the amulet failed my beloved.
Red flowing before my eyes and the glint of the
machete is blinding me. The thrust of the spears burn
my flesh. Oh! The pain and the cries of our closet
friends fill my ears. I pray that they did not suffer. Not
even the children were spared. My tears flow freely.
Now I hear the sound again and this time it is much
closer. The earth is moving around me. I hear the
sound of excited human voices using a strange
language. I do not recognize their tongue. Maybe they
are from a far away city?
A faint glimmer of sunlight cuts through my darkness
and here are the pale faces that belong to the voices.
They are looking at me. Why are they wearing such
strange clothing and where is the brown in their skin?
Why are their eyes the color of the sky?
“Kan Maax, my love, it is time to leave.” My heart is
beating so fast. Can it really be her— my beloved? Her
soft hand is in mine gently pulling me up. I see her. Oh
how she shines. We face each other and she smiles
chasing away all the years of loneliness I had endured.
Now she is adjusting the two warriors on my chest. I
reach out to her and begin to take the cursed talisman
off my beloved but she stops me. “ I have grown fond
of them.” I smile at her and say “Next time I will choose
a better high priest.”
I take her soft beautiful hand into mine and together
we begin to walk towards the glorious, warm sunlight
that outshines everything in front of us. As we walk I
stop to turn and look back at the pale ones because
they have sparked my curiosity. Why are they so happy
even though they are staring at a hole filled with
bones? What is the meaning of the strange words that
they are shouting? “ We found the King and Queen!”
My beloved pulls me ahead and I turn to face the sun
with a smile on my face.