Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Veracruz culture, ca. 500 to 700 CE. A remarkable ceramic figure: a standing lord with a lifelike face and elaborate costume. The figure has a long robe draped with a pectoral composed of four horizontal strands; below that is a long sash that hangs to the ankles over the robe. The robe has a thick border around its lower end, with the figure's bare feet poking out from beneath it. These feet have a distinctly jaguar paw-like appearance with applied toenails, perhaps hinting that this figure has some of the power of the feline. The shape of the figure's headdress mirrors that of the pectoral with multiple dangling strings framing the face. The face itself is wide, with a large nose, a mouth with the upper row of teeth emphasized, and oval eyes with applied thick black pigment forming their irises. Size: 11.4" W x 21.5" H (29 cm x 54.6 cm)
This figure combines the amazing style of the Veracruz, who had the ability to combine hyper-realistic features (see here, for example, the way the fingers of one hand have been depicted as clenched) with stylized items (the entire mask). Excavations near the modern Mexican town of Remojadas have revealed two types of impressive, detailed pottery figures from the Veracruz period: the Sonrientes, the joyous "smiling faces", 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. Their clothing suggests that they depict people of import in society, maybe priests or nobility.
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-private T. Misenhimer collection, Los Angeles, California, USA, famous Hollywood film producer
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Repaired and restored from multiple pieces. Most repair lines have some overpainting along them. Some small nicks and chips commensurate with age. Two small drill holes from TL test.