HUMAN HEAD

XOCHIPALA GUERRERO - Mexico

900 – 600 BC

H : 20 cm – W : 17.7 cm – D : 15 cm
Green serpentine with a brown patina

This head is capped with a rounded helmet completely covering the forehead to the border of the eyes. The facial features are reduced to their simplest expression: a half-moon hollow for each eye, deep furrows on either side of the face to form the ears, a columnar nose that merges with the helmet and finally an open mouth marked by a wide and deep horizontal cut, giving the impression that the man pursed his lips. Finally, the chin is round and the jaw angular. By extrapolation, this helmeted head could represent a hallucinogenic fungus or the glans of a phallus. In the first case, this would refer to the substances that shamans ingested to enter into a trance and communicate with spirits. In the second case, it would be a symbol of power, virility and fertility. Either way, the character seems to embody a shaman.

Xochipala, an artistic style dated from the preclassic period, an archeological site dated from the classic period. The state of Guerrero in southwestern Mexico has been the home of several stylistic trends. The best known are the Mezcala and Chontal styles that share many features in common, and then the Sultepec and Xochipala style. The latter corresponds to terracotta and stone figures and engraved stone vessels dating back to the preclassic period (2500 BC - 200 AD). This name was probably established by the Scottish archaeologist William Nivel in 1890 who searched the area near the village of Xochipala. It should be noted that the archaeological site Organera-Xochipala itself (below) is dated later, between 200 and 1500 AD. J.-C. (classic and postclassic period).