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Lot 0073
Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Olmec, ca. 1100 to 500 BCE. A near-miniature maskette carved from a rich greenstone with black and white inclusions. The visage presents signature Olmec traits including a jowly face, downturned jaguar mouth, slanted eyes, perforated ears and double pupils. The head shows signs of cranial deformation signifying high status due to an artificial cranial deformation, as the Olmec traditionally wore tight-fitting helmets. Perforated for suspension. Custom stand. Size: 2.25" W x 6" H (5.7 cm x 15.2 cm); 3.875" H (9.8 cm) on stand

To the Olmecs, masks and maskettes like this example carried many meanings, not all of which are obvious to us today; however, scholars surmise that the color green was associated with vibrant growth, renewal, and given the cyclical conception of life and death, rejuvenation after death. Bilaterally perforated for suspension or attachment. A special example created by the Olmec culture, the oldest major civilization in Mexico. Similar examples may be found in the most reputable museum collections throughout the world, including the Princeton University Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Provenance: Ex-Private Kentucky Collection

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Very minor surface wear. Near choice. Handwritten on the verso is old cataloguing information, not all of which is legible. However it does read in part, "Found 1916, Etaupan (sp) Mound" with an old inventory number below.

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Pre-Columbian Olmec Greenstone Maskette

Estimate $6,000 - $8,000Feb 9, 2017
Louisville, CO, USA