Pre-Columbian, Guerrero, Mexico, Mezcala style, ca. 300 BCE. This is a greenstone head with a look that could have inspired a Cubist -- a triangular face with nose and ovoid eyes and mouth. The upper back has two drilled holes for suspension. Mezcala sculpture makes us think about the individual elements of the human form by abstracting them into basic geometric shapes. Sculptures like this one play with planes and depressions. The type of stone it is made out of is a smooth grey-green andesite, a volcanic rock that, although hard and therefore difficult to carve, was heavily favored by the Mezcala and used to create many of their human form sculptures and some of their architectural models. The eyes and mouth would have been drilled out and the shape smoothed using sandstone abrasion. This particular example strongly resembles type M-22, which is described by Gay and Pratt (see below). We do not know what these heads represented, but because they are found in tombs, many researchers believe that they have something to do with the dead: their spirits, or a type of death mask. Gay and Pratt also suggest that they may have something to do with the Mezcala lunar religion -- perhaps they helped provide safe passage to the netherworld, which seems to have been located on the Moon. Size: 2" L x 3.5" W x 4" H (5.1 cm x 8.9 cm x 10.2 cm)
Net proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit six animal charities in Taos, New Mexico.
cf, Gay, C. and Pratt, F. 1992 Mezcala: Ancient Stone Sculpture from Guerrero, Mexico, Balsas Publication, Switzerland.
Provenance: Ex-[rivate K. Holkza collection via family descent from her sister, acquired in NYC before 1975
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