XOCHIPALA GUERRERO - Mexico
900 – 600 BC
The general shape of the head is quite similar to that of a mushroom, with its cap, or the extremity of a phallus, with its glans penis. The facial features are stylized. The chin is round and the jaw is angular. The open mouth is evoked by a wide horizontal gash. The nose is long, straight and prominent. The half-moon-shaped eyes are deeply hollowed-out. The rectilinear ears are salient. The head is topped by a rounded helmet that covers the entire forehead until the root of the nose.
This figure is very interesting with its abstract shape, its stylized, geometrical features and its rich iconography. Indeed, the helmet that surmounts the head could either represent the cap of a hallucinogenic mushroom, or the glans of a phallus. In the first case, it would refer to the substances that shamans took in order to get into a state of trance and to communicate with the spirits of the Underworld. In the second case, it would be a symbol of strength, manliness, virility and fecundity. In both cases, we are probably facing an important shaman and this figure probably was a very important item. Moreover, with its modern aesthetic look and its beautiful material, this head is a great work of art. It definitely is an exceptional piece, an extremely rare, unique and unrivalled figure among the Xochipala culture.