SITTING CHARACTER

OLMECA - Mexico

1200 - 800 B.C.

Height: 18.3 cm - Width: 13 cm - Depth: 9 cm

Beige brown hollow terracotta with a thin layer of kaolin and traces of red paint

Provenance

Former collection Yvon Collet since 1967

Collection Galerie Mermoz since 2019

This charming figurine is a very fine representation, of exceptional quality, belonging to the body of Olmec-style terracotta statuettes, attached to the archaeological site of Las Bocas in central Mexico.

The delicacy of her features, the accuracy of her proportions, the flexibility and balance of her posture and the gentle serenity that emanates from her face, make her a masterpiece, both technically and visually, testifying that as of the Preclassic period, the ancient Mexicans had achieved remarkable dexterity in working with clay.

The presence of an elaborate headdress conforming to the shape of the skull and adorned with what appear to be wicks - even feathers - superimposed, as well as discs adorning the ears, indicate that this figure is of high rank. These details, uncommon on Olmec statuettes, generally without any sign of belonging to a social class, contribute to the rarity of this piece, produced, almost 3000 years ago.

As we can see in particular in profile, the head presents a strong cranial deformation, reflection of an ancestral custom in Mesoamerica consisting, to give to the heads of the dignitaries the elongated and rounded shape of an ear of corn. It is a symbol of fertility and abundance, and to distinguish them from the rest of the community.

The face is animated by two slanted and oblique eyes, the pupils of which are perforated, resulting from the modification of the head which accentuates the oval of the face and considerably flattens the forehead. The rather slim nose presents a long and fine ridge, slightly slanted, and a pretty rounded tip. The mouth is parted, and the lips are sensual and hemmed. The chin is short, and the lower jaw is broad and flat.