Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast Mexico, Veracruz (Vera Cruz) culture, Post-Classic period, ca. 12th to early 16th century CE. A hollow-built pottery head depicting the defleshed face of Mictlantecuhtli, the Veracruz god of death. The skeletal face presents with protruding cheek bones, incised rows of exposed teeth above the nasal bridge, hemispherical eyes set within hollow sockets, and lateral flanges behind the mandible indicative of headdress lappets. A central roundel accentuates the middle of a segmented fillet. Skulls like this example symbolized the king of the lowest section of the underworld as his name Mictlantecuhtli means "Lord of Mictlan." Size: 6.125" W x 6.4" H (15.6 cm x 16.3 cm)
Cf. The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Pete, accession number 1992.54
Provenance: private New Jersey, USA collection, acquired in the 1990s
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A fragment of a larger composition. Repair to nose, with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. Nicks to face, peripheries, and verso, with minor softening to some finer details, and light encrustations. Great remains of skull detailing across obverse.