Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Guerrero, Mezcala culture (Balsas culture), ca. 700 to 200 BCE. This is a fantastic example of a rare Mezcala stone scultpure form: the temple carved from grey basalt. The Mezcala style emphasized geometric abstraction and simplicity of form to create powerful, instantly recognizable miniature architectural models (and human figures). This is a four columned structure atop a stepped base that calls to mind the earthen and stone pyramids of ancient Mexico. The structure has a steeply sloping roof. Archaeologists have found no buildings similar to this one in Guerrero, so it is unclear if this represents an actual architectural feature or an idealized form; the lack of any human or other figures for scale contributes to this feeling of abstraction. Some scholars have suggested that they represent funerary structures, and the columns are actually the wood supports of a pyre. Items like this one were passed down as heirlooms, so even though we know that they were created during the Mezcala period, huge caches of them were found in what was probably the ball court of the Templo Mayor in the 15th century CE Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Size: 4.2" W x 7.75" H (10.7 cm x 19.7 cm)
Provenance: Ex-estate of Colonel Herbert E. Marshburn.
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