Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast Mexico, Veracruz (Vera Cruz), Nopiloa style, Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 950 CE. A fabulous hollow-molded pottery figure depicting a mother standing atop delineated feet. The mother wears layered robes decorated with thick tassels and an intricate medallion, holds her right arm closely to her side, and supports a small child with her left arm. Both mother and child boast similar facial features, such as squinting lunate eyes, bulbous noses, thick lips above rounded chins, and puffy cheeks. The child wearing large earspools and a crested head ornament, and the mother dons an elaborate headdress with dense stippled and linear motifs as well as finely-striated hair draped atop her shoulders. Traces of white pigment are abound across both figures and suggest the composition was intricately decorated at one time. Size: 6.2" W x 9.25" H (15.7 cm x 23.5 cm).
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!
A stylistically-similar example, of a smaller size and not holding a child, hammered for $6,600 at Christie's, New York "Pre-Columbian Art" auction (sale 1837, May 23, 2007, lot 86): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/veracruz-female-dignitary-nopiloa-late-classic-ca-4916350-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=4916350&sid=b043f9b2-4a73-4d58-acd5-56e13633c06d
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Robert M. Peters collection; ex-Sotheby’s, New York (May 19, 1992, lot 136)
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Professionally repaired from multiple large pieces with light restoration, resurfacing, and overpainting along break lines. Minor abrasions and nicks to headdress, head, child, body, and limbs, with minor fading to original pigmentation, and light encrustations. Nice earthen deposits, root marks, and traces of original pigmentation throughout.