Pre-Columbian & Western Art

Human Figure

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Human Figure
600-900 A.D.

Place of Origin: Maya, Mexico
Materials: Terracotta
Acc. No. 68.9

This terracotta sculpture represents a female figure seated with her legs turned backwards, and hands laid over her knees, perhaps a position taken when participating in some informal sport or accomplishing some ritual. Later, the posture was almost rigidified as the 'Namaz' posture. As regards the disposition of her face: her skywards raised eyes, meditative face, posture of her hands, or rather entire figure, and absolute calm enshrining her face, the lady seems to be absorbed in some mystic thoughts or is engaged in divine dialogue with the Supreme.

Besides a massive 'hasli' - a thickly cast large size gold or silver ring worn around neck, with a lamp-flame pendent, and as massive ear-ornaments, the lady's ensemble, especially the scarf around her neck and the full sleeve long gown-like dress covering her figure down to feet - as in Islamic tradition, are quite exclusive. Her figure has been conceived with well dressed hair, round face, large eyes but flat features and heavy lips. Her feminine identity has been revealed by her breasts, though largely concealed under her ensemble. The stylistic maturity that the statue reveals is the index to the artistic maturity that defined Maya earthen wares : clay or terracotta objects, for over three hundred years.

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