Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Veracruz culture, from early in the Remojadas period, ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE. An incredible, massive sculptural representation of a woman, with amazing details of the facial features and body. She stands in a slight crouch as if she was made to be placed onto a platform (as she likely once was), her knees bent, her thighs emphasized. Her hands rest against the sides of her thighs, at the ends of her straight arms. She has a bare chest and seems to not be wearing anything below her neck but a belt. Scholars have suggested that figures like this one were clothed in organic material when first made. On her upper arms are six raised bumps, perhaps representing piercings or deliberate scarification. Size: 9" W x 27" H (22.9 cm x 68.6 cm); 29" H (73.7 cm) on included custom stand.
Her face is fascinating - with a jutting chin, small eyes below large, raised eyebrows, and a prominent nose with a ring. She wears small, round earrings and has a fascinating coiffure - hair combed straight over the crown of her head, with two small ponytails, one on either side of her head.
Excavations near the town of 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. But who was this woman? The identity of Veracruz terracotta figures is unknown - is she a stylized goddess figure? A priestess? A representation of all women? Or just a member of the local community?
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Tim Misenhimer collection; ex-Lewis Riley collection, formed in the 1930s
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Repaired and restored from multiple pieces, with limbs and head reattached. This is well done and difficult to discern. Manganese and other mineral deposits over all of the unrestored surface.