Pre-Columbian, Veracruz Mexico, Napiloa, Late Classic, ca. 550 to 950 CE. A fabulous articulated doll depicting a young prince donning an elaborate tunic with intricate design motifs that include a smoke scroll and the upper jaw of a monster, and bedecked with jewels. The figure is comprised of mold-made buff terracotta sections with added white pigment, joined via string so that the limbs move freely. The head and torso were created as one section, and the face presenting an expressive countenance comprised of almond-shaped eyes with concave irises/pupils adorned by white pigment, a pointed aquiline nose, parted lips revealing white teeth, ears fitted with earspools, and a smooth complexion, topped by a stylish coiffure (long central section of bangs and locks falling to the sides) that is also highlighted in white pigment. In addition to his tightly fitted tunic, he wears a beaded necklace and beaded cuff bracelets. Size: 13.5" H (34.3 cm) on included block stand.
Nopiloan art exists as a blend or cross between regular Vera Cruz and Mayan figures. Typically they are mold made figures that as have the look of Botero versions of Jaina figures. Relative to Jaina figures, those of Nopiloa are somewhat larger and have softer details. They are extremely thin-walled for their size, so their lightness is often surprising. Unlike the vivid El Faisan figures, they seldom have color other than occasional white or blue accents. This is a lovely example!
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex T. Misenheimer (a Hollywood film producer), Hollywood, California, USA; ex Bonham's, New York, May 12, 2012, Lot 62, ex Christie's, Paris, African, Oceanic, & Precolumbian, June 14, 2004 (Lot 404)
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
Head repaired from about 10 pieces. Right leg with restoration to upper thigh. Normal surface wear commensurate with age. Scuffs, slight nicks, and pigment loss (though nice areas of white pigment remain). Areas of mineral deposits grace the surface. Held together with later cordage. Four felt circles attached to underside of torso.