MASK REPRESENTING A HUMAN FACE

450 – 650 A.D.

- Former collection Yvon Collet since 1969

       - Galerie Mermoz collection since 2001

 

The beauty and intensity of its polished stone, a green-black serpentine, as pleasing to the eye as it is to the touch, the accuracy of the modeling and the profound expression that it conveys, make it an admirable piece and suggest a dating to the classical period around 450 A.D.

 

This extremely fine and rare mask is an excellent example of the highly refined style of Teotihuacán, a cosmopolitan metropolis and largest pre-Hispanic religious center between the first and seventh centuries of our era.

 

It is a testimony to the dexterity of the artisans who inhabited the great ceremonial site, and of course their immense devotion, without which these sumptuous faces, exalting youth and serenity, could not have taken shape with such an aura.

 

The work of an accomplished artist, it also reflects the conventions in force in the "City of the Gods", led by a powerful priestly class who was careful to idealize and consecrate all of the artistic productions. The concern for perfection and permanence of this ruling elite is visible through every detail of this extremely rare mask. It is enough to observe the impeccable outline of the eyes, the straightness and the realism of the nose, the rigor of the stylized ears and the perfect curve of the lips to be convinced of it.

 

The carved eyes and mouth were originally intended to accommodate inlays in mother-of-pearl, obsidian or pyrite intended to animate and embellish the represented person. The pierced nostrils and open mouth are symbolically important elements. They were to allow the soul, embodied by the mask, to breathe and continue its way into the afterlife. The volume voluntarily given to them by the sculptor and the care taken in their realization testifies to this.

 

The ears, represented by two rectangular protuberances, have pierced lobes to allow the wearing of ornaments. The top of the mask is straight and his back is carved. Suspension holes were made on the sides, at the top and at the bottom of each ear. These probably allowed to attach this impressive mask to a wooden mannequin, installed in a niche in a place of worship.