LYING FIGURE

OLMEC – Las Bocas – PUEBLA – Mexico

900 – 600 B.C.

  • Height : 7.1 cm.
  • Width : 16.0 cm.
  • Depth : 7.8 cm.

Massive beige brown terracotta with a thin slip of kaolin and traces of cinnabar.

Anthropomorphic sculpture representing a figure lying on his left side.

The left leg is outstretched on the floor, whereas the right one is folded with the foot flat on the ground. The right arm is placed along the body and the hand rests on the knee. The left arm is bent, with the elbow on the floor; ant the hand supports the head of the figure. The fingers and the toes are evoked by grooves. The groin, abdomen and elbow folds are marked and highlighted with cinnabar, as well as the hands, feet, crotch and neck. The head is strongly elongated, which is the sign of the skull’s ritual distortion. The mouth is half-open and underlined by cinnabar; the nose is straight and flattened; the eyes are marked by fine cuts. The facial features express a great smoothness and an intense serenity.

This beautiful sculpture is exceptional due to the fineness and the realism of its features. The artist managed to enliven the figure in such a way that one would not be surprised if he just stood up. The delicate handling and the intense expression demonstrate moreover a perfect mastery and make this sculpture an amazing example from the Olmec art.

The Olmec civilization developed, between 1500 and 400 B.C., in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, roughly in what are the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Its political, religious and cultural influence extended all across Mesoamerica and almost all of the later cultures carry indisputable signs of its heritage. Through their long-lasting supremacy and their invaluable legacy, the Olmecs are considered as the mother civilization of Mesoamerica.