Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Vera Cruz, Remojadas, ca. 550 to 950 CE. An outstanding example of a Sonriente terracotta figure, the most well-known of Remojadas examples, featuring a traditional wide smile revealing filed teeth on a characteristically almost triangular shaped face, attached to a child-like body with outstretched arms and displayed palms, and highly decorated with an elaborate headdress featuring birds carved in low relief on the front band, beaded pectoral with a zoomorphic pendant, and lower garment trimmed with stylized geometric motifs. Custom stand. Size: 8.5" W x 14.25" H (21.6 cm x 36.2 cm)
Sonrientes are rare in Mesoamerican art and scholars suggest that they played a special role in Remojadas society due to their rarity. Why that smile? Well some scholars believe that it was hallucinogenically produced perhaps by ingesting alcoholic pulque while others such as Miller and Taube suggest that the smiling figures were actually performers.
Provenance: Ex-Dr. George Wald, Cambridge, MA, acquired 1960s. Dr. Wald was the recipient of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
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