Description: Pre-Columbian, Guerrero, Mexico, Mezcala style, ca. 300 BCE. This is a greenstone body carved from a ritual hand axe. Half of the body is a head; the rest is a barely-rendered body. Mezcala sculpture makes us think about the individual elements of the human form by abstracting them into basic geometric shapes. Sculptures like this one play with planes and depressions. The type of stone it is made out of is a smooth grey-green andesite, a volcanic rock that, although hard and therefore difficult to carve, was heavily favored by the Mezcala and used to create many of their human form sculptures and some of their architectural models. We do not know what these heads represented, but because they are found in tombs, many researchers believe that they have something to do with the dead: their spirits, or a type of death mask. Gay and Pratt (see below) also suggest that they may have something to do with the Mezcala lunar religion -- perhaps they helped provide safe passage to the netherworld, which seems to have been located on the Moon. Size: 4.15" W x 10.2" H (10.5 cm x 25.9 cm)
cf, Gay, C. and Pratt, F. 1992 Mezcala: Ancient Stone Sculpture from Guerrero, Mexico, Balsas Publication, Switzerland.
Provenance: Ex-Peter Arnovick collection, San fran, CA
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Condition Report: Surface wear as shown.
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