Pre-Columbian, Guerrero, Mexico, ca. 300 to 100 BCE. Carved and string cut from a beautiful veined green stone, a very rare and quite sizeable Mezcala figure of the M-14 type presenting a wide body and a flat back, a characteristically elongated head with a triangular chin, a pronounced brow line, carefully pecked eyes and open mouth, pecked spaces between the chest and arms, and separated legs. According to the Hasso von Winning statement, "this figure appears to be wearing a mask, which is unusual for this type." Being an M-14 variant, this piece is very rare. What's more, its grand size is unusual. Size: 15" H (38.1 cm); 15.5" H (39.4 cm) on included custom stand.
According to Carlo Gay, M-14 figures have spaces between their legs and arms "in an ongoing attempt to achieve a viable human image in stone." This example has a space between the legs; however, the spaces between the arms and chest have been meticulously pecked in order to indicate this separation rather than being entirely open. Hence it is an unusual variant of the M-14 type. According to Gay and Pratt, " … there are comparatively few recorded M-14 figures - accounting for only 5 percent of the total number of representations of the human form …" Gay and Pratt also discuss an intriguing connection between M-14 figures and Mezcala architectural models created in the mountainous region of Guerrero between 300 to 100 BCE - "the space between the arms and the body being technically identical to the space between the posts of the models …" (Carlo Gay and Frances Pratt, "Mezcala: Ancient Stone Sculpture from Guerrero Mexico", New York: Balsas Publications, 1992, p. 67)
This piece is accompanied by Hasso von Winning paperwork dated March 20, 1972 in which von Winning describes the piece and concludes that it is an authentic Pre-Columbian artifact.
Provenance: ex-private Malibu, California, USA collection, acquired from Harry A. Franklin Gallery, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California, USA in 1970; the piece also comes with authenticating paperwork from Hasso von Winning, Ph.D. of Hollywood, California, USA, dated March 20, 1972. At the time, von Winning was a consultant in Mesoamerican Archaeology at the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.
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According to the Von Winning paperwork, "the surface is finely polished and presents some erosion at the bottom - a rare and especial (sp) example of Mezcala stone art." Indeed there is some old loss to the feet (the erosion that von Winning notes). There are also a few minor nicks and abrasions - to right ear, lower edge of mouth, and forehead for example - but these are very minor. The stone itself is stunning with wonderful veining of sage, forest green, and white hues creating mesmerizing patterns. Fabulous pecking to eyes, mouth, and spaces between arms and chest. This is a truly special piece.