MASK REPRESENTING A DIGNITARY FACE

CHONTAL – Teotihuacan influence – GUERRERO – Mexico

350 – 100 B.C.

Hauteur : 25.7 cm - Largeur : 21.5 cm - Epaisseur : 9.3 cm

Speckled green serpentine.

Provenance

Former collection Yvon Collet since 1970

Galerie Mermoz Collection since 2004

Linked to the Chontal and Mezcala cultural centres of Guerrero, a centre of lapidary creation, it has an Olmec-style mouth which is recognisable by its trapezoidal shape and the highly raised upper lip. This characteristic attests to the relationship that existed between the Olmec and Guerrero peoples and the artistic dynamic that resulted. 

Its exceptional size and the fact that it is carved in a beautiful deep green serpentine, exquisitely polished, confirms its great social and religious value. In Mesoamerica, predominantly green stones embodied the fundamental and divine creative forces of water and vegetation. They were endowed with magical powers related to fertility and rebirth. Their use was thus reserved for producing precious works intended for the elite and used for rites and worship (agrarian, funereal, among others).

The dignitary, pictured here, is recognisable by his sumptuous finery. He is wearing a double band descending to the temples, adorned with a central rectangular medallion, similar to a diadem. He is also wearing beautiful circular jewellery pierced in the centre of his ears. The face is noble and distinguished. His eyes are barely hollowed out and their surface left rough. Their depth is accentuated by the shadow of the delicately carved brow arches. The wings of the aquiline nose are shown by incision. The cheekbones are slightly protruding. The lips are fleshy and the philtrum stands out. The jaw is broad and heavy, giving power and character to this effigy. The ears are represented by two rectangular protrusions and an attachment hole has been made above each of them.