Pre-Columbian, Central Mexico, Teotihuacan, ca. 200 to 600 CE. An impressive stone mask of a characteristic angular form with boldly delineated facial features, carved from a rich greenstone of stunning dark green hues with lighter green inclusions, from the sacred city of Teotihuacan ("the place were the gods were created"), at one time the largest city in the Pre-Columbian world, famous for its pyramids (Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon) as well as the Great Compound with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (aka Temple of the Plumed Serpent) punctuating the Avenue of the Dead. Clearly created by an expert sculptor, this engaging mask's celt-shaped visage presents deep-set, almond-shaped, quixotic eyes with well-delineated lids surmounted by gracefully arched brows which lead to the bridge of a naturalistically rendered nose and open mouth. Size: 5.625" W x 6" H (14.3 cm x 15.2 cm); 6.75" H (17.1 cm) on included custom stand.
The characteristically flanged ears were perforated so as to receive decorative ornaments that have vanished with the sands of time. Bilateral perforations were drilled through the temples for suspension/attachment. Green stones were actually worth more than gold in Mesoamerica; hence, this mask was likely a prestige object when it was made and continues to be a beautiful piece of art!
Stone masks like this example are perhaps the best known works of Teotihuacan art. According to scholars, they are believed to have been part of funerary furniture; however, no masks have been found in burial chambers. Instead, archaeologists have discovered them in the vicinity of temples and complexes along the Avenue of the Dead. Some speculate that they may have been attached to wooden armatures in temples to represent deities on their journey to achieving god-hood.
Provenance: private Lexington, Kentucky, USA collection; ex Dr. Robert Gonzalo collection, acquired in the 1960's, Stoetzer COA
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A fabulous mask, impressive for its mesmerizing visage as well as the inherently beautiful stone - rich with striking hues and gorgeous veining. Small chips to back of one ear, back of upper left corner, and back of lower section that may have been created when the piece was originally carved.