Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Veracruz culture, ca. 500 to 700 CE. An incredible sculptural representation of an elite figure, standing with arms spread out to the sides, wearing a massive, floor-length tunic composed of wide strips of clay, and a huge collar that projects outward from the neck. Only the tips of the hands and feet - with wonderfully articulated fingers and toes - poke out from beneath this voluminous piece of clothing. Atop the head is a massive headdress with wide, hanging strips that reach down to the shoulders. The top of the headdress has a floral profile, as if made of overlaid petals. Two rope-like strips are at the front of the headband that holds the headdress in place. The face is naturalistic, with large eyes and a wide open mouth; star-shaped spool earrings stud the large ears. Size: 15.5" W x 19.15" H (39.4 cm x 48.6 cm)
The large scale, hand-modeled figures from Veracruz are known as Remojadas, from the region in Mexico that they originate from; intact, they range from 1' to 2' in height. They are usually portrayed with their arms up, and are made in parts, with the head added to the body using further clay that is smoothed over the neck line. They are given flattened layers of clay to make their clothing; they also were often given gold or other precious objects as jewelry, though pieces with that detail remaining are rare. Excavations near Remojadas have revealed two types of impressive, detailed pottery figures: the Sonrientes, the joyous "smiling faces" depicting people of all ages and sexes, and figures like this one, more serious, mostly adult figures, with elaborate costumes, themes, and sometimes props that all seem to point towards religious or political ceremonies. These figures are often found with the bodies smashed into pieces and the heads largely intact - they were ritually destroyed as burial offerings.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s; ex-Stendahl collection, acquired in the early 1980s
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