MEZCALA - GUERRERO
350 - 100 B.C.
Height: 26.6 cm - Width: 7.7 cm - Depth: 5.2 cm
Veined green andesite
Former collection Yvon Collet depuis 1967
Collection Galerie Mermoz since 2020
This magnificent figure is a fine example of the creative force of Guerrero, a mountainous region in Western Mexico, considered to be one of the cultural cradles of Mesoamerica and a prodigal land for the late pre-classical sculptors who found deposits of highly sacred green stones there.
It bears witness to the richness of Mezcala art, one of the main local cultural expressions, which includes thousands of statuettes, all unique despite their undeniable family resemblance. Although they may have more modest pretensions than other artistic manifestations of Mesoamerica, they are nonetheless remarkable, and fully deserve the interest shown by the 20th century artists, who were admirers of these unique and audacious human forms, playing marvellously with light and the natural aspect of stone.
Worked with care in a beautiful polished diorite, it is a sculptural achievement and a precious work on a symbolic level, a silent guardian of the memory of ancestral peoples, deeply connected to their ancestors and to the spirits of the Earth and Nature in general.
With a contemplative demeanour, this figure stands upright with his hands clasped on its chest. The narrow shape of his skull indicates a ritual deformation, a widespread practice in Mesoamerica among the dominant social classes that displayed their noble status. The eye sockets are large, hollowed out superficially and left rough. The nose is long and sculpted in slight relief. At its base, the sculptor made two circular hollows to indicate the orifice of the nostrils.
The mouth is barely outlined and its surface is not polished. The ears are represented by two angular protrusions which also have two circular hollows. The head, planted on the shoulders, conceals the neck. The narrow, drooping shoulders are extended by long arms that frame with the torso. Only two vertical grooves allow them to be visually identified. The forearms, on the other hand, are clearly sculpted in relief, slightly at an angle, on the abdomen. The hands are not visible, but they are obviously joined at the navel. A bulge in the lower abdomen marks the border with the legs, which are straight and separated by a wide notch, rounded at its upper end. The feet are not sculpted, and the figure appears to rest directly on its legs, which are neatly cut.
Note: the top of the skull and the tips of the toes were deliberately left rough by the artist to show the natural appearance of the rock before it was worked.