COUPLE OF STANDING FIGURES

JALISCO – Mexico

100 B.C. – 250 A.D.

  • Woman:
  • Height : 53.5 cm
  • Width : 30 cm 
  • Depth : 17 cm

 

  • Man:
  • Height : 52.6 cm
  • Width : 32 cm
  • Depth : 15.2 cm

 

Massive brown terracotta with brown-red slip, white and black decoration and traces of manganese oxide. 

Anthropomorphic sculptures representing a couple of richly adorned, standing figures.

On the left, the woman is dressed with a long skirt that goes down to the knees; this skirt is decorated with a series of white-painted motifs, separated into two distinct areas by an oblique line: on one side of this line, parallel horizontal lines, on the other side, many little stars. The chest is naked and highlighted by a white stripe above each breast. The neck is attired with a multiple-row necklace embellished with a pendant of beads. The woman firmly holds a bowl on her right shoulder with the help of her hand, whereas her left arm is lightly raised. The feet and hand are entirely covered with white paint. The angular face is very expressive. The chin is sharp. The mouth with fine lips is half-open. The nose is prominent and its bridge is strongly marked. The round eyes are in relief. The arches of the eyebrows join the root of the nose. The salient ears are attired with wide circular rings decorated with geometric motifs. A braided headband encircles the top of the head, flattened due to a ritual distortion of the skull.

On the right, the man is almost naked; he only wears a piece of fabric, defined by white lines and decorated with dots, that covers a part of his torso and is tied above the left shoulder. His feet are dressed with white-colored sandals. The hands are entirely painted in white and the right one holds an item, probably a ritual object. The neck is attired with a multiple-row beaded necklace. The angular face is very expressive and quite similar to the other one. The mouth with fine lips presents a little smile. The prominent nose has a marked bridge. The round eyes are in relief. The salient ears are adorned with the same large circular rings than those of the woman, also decorated with geometric motifs. The face is covered with painted designs, amongst which are a long vertical line going from the top of the forehead down to the tip of the nose, and two diagonal lines on each cheek. A wide striped headband encircles the top of the head, flattened due to a ritual distortion of the skull.

The Jalisco culture develops in western Mexico, in the region matching the modern-day State of the same name, between 200 B.C. and 300 A.D. It belongs to the cultural group known as “West Coast”, of which the Colima and Nayarit cultures are also part. From an artistic point of view, the Jalisco culture mostly produced funerary ceramics representing figures in a both serene and expressive attitude, depicting sacred or daily-life scenes, captured in the very moment and showing a spontaneous quality. 

Publication: -TOWNSEND R. (dir.), Ancient West Mexico. Art and Archeology of the Unknown Past, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1998, p.125.