**Originally Listed At $2500**
Pre-Columbian, Central Mexico, Guerrero region, Chontal, Late Preclassic period, ca. 300 to 100 BCE. A fascinating face mask, made of rare white marble (most are made of greenstone), with deep impressions for the nose and mouth, raised eyelids and lips, and a sturdy, wide nose projecting from the center of the face. The cheeks are smooth, even hollowed, and the mouth is open above a slightly pointed chin. The back is pierced in four places for suspension, with a fifth drill hole that does not go fully through the stone. Size: 4.25" W x 4.7" H (10.8 cm x 11.9 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. Scholars believe that such masks as this example were tied to funerary bundles of the noble elite; however, smaller scale masks suggest they may have been attached to clothing.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-Palmyra Heritage Gallery, New York, USA, 2000s
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Deep encrustations and surface wear commensurate with age. Fissure on the inner side of one eye that looks like it was a natural crack in the rock.