Pre-Columbian, Mexico, Guerrero region, Chontal, Late Preclassic period, ca. 300 to 100 BCE. An intriguing abstract anthropomorphic figure, hand-carved from speckled sage-green stone with black, beige, and white inclusions. Squat legs are tucked beneath the stocky body atop an integral circular base surrounded by three shallow clefts, with bent arms and bulbous hands holding the knees, and the bulbous chest as well as rounded back tapering up to the corseted neck. The head is characteristically stylized with coffee-bean-shaped eyes protruding on either side of the slender nose, pursed lips above a grooved chin, and tab-shaped ears below horizontal brows, all beneath a lightly rounded protrusion on one upper corner. The effigy exhibits an incredibly smooth surface that is pleasing to the touch. Size: 2.375" W x 7.8" H (6 cm x 19.8 cm).
The Guerrero region of modern-day southwestern Mexico was the center of the Mezcala and Chontal stone carving traditions. While Mezcala artists are known for their abstract, geometric style, the Chontal sculptors imbued their artworks with more naturalism. Although their stonework stems from the Preclassic period, ca. 300 to 100 BCE, later Mesoamerican peoples clearly cherished Chontal portable sculptures as heirlooms. Chontal creations have been unearthed in ritual caches at Templo Mayor, the principle temple of the 15th century Aztecs of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). What's more, legendary 20th century modernists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Miguel Covarrubias appreciated the minimalist qualities of Chontal art. Covarrubias went so far as to compare it to the Cycladic style of ancient Greece.
Provenance: ex-Merrin Gallery, New York, New York, USA
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Minor abrasions to head and base, with very light softening to some finer details, otherwise intact and near choice. Wonderful smoothness throughout.