Lot 61B: Olmecoid Stone Carved Figure
October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Proto Classic Period, Olmec, ca. 800 to 500 BCE. A carved green stone figure standing with both hands at sides, presenting a characteristically elongated head with a misshapen crown, most likely indicating cranial deformation, as the Olmec traditionally wore tight-fitting helmets, an expressive visage comprised of intensely staring slit eyes, a voluminous, well-defined nose, and a downturned jaguar mouth. To the Olmecs, greenstone figures like this example (as well as the masks and maskettes) carried many meanings, not all of which are obvious to us today; however, scholars surmise that the color green was associated with vibrant growth, renewal, and given the cyclical conception of life and death, rejuvenation after death. A wonderful example with well-executed string cut and drilled features, a nice polished surface with remains of red cinnabar. Custom stand. Size: 7.625" H (19.4 cm); 8" H (20.3 cm) on stand.
The first major civilization Meso-America was that of the Olmec. They established themselves in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico around 1500 BCE. The Olmec were very advanced, with monumental architecture, colossal statuary, and an aristocracy that enjoyed fine objects of personal adornment in jade and obsidian that were imported from areas hundreds of miles away.
Provenance: Ex-New York Collection
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Condition Report: Surface wear with abrasions and encrustation commensurate with age as shown.