CHUPICUARO – Guanajuato – Michoacan – Mexico

400 – 200 B.C.

  • Height : 38.5 cm
  • Width : 15.5 cm
  • Depth : 8 cm

Hollow brown terracotta with red-orange coating and black-brown and beige decorations.

Standing goddess with the hands placed on the hips. The short arms are tubular and apart from the body, forming an arc. The fingers of the hands and the feet are engraved. The whole body is treated with fluidity and plays on the hips’ curves and the belly’s roundness. The navel is grooved. The head pushed into the shoulders is treated with the same smoothness. The mouth, slightly open, let the teeth show. The almond shaped eyes are painted in black and the eyelids have been engraved. The receding forehead is ornamented with a pedimented headdress which is engraved and painted with chevrons and beige and black crenellated motifs. The finery of the goddess is completed by circular earrings and rich black and beige body paintings which resume the so called “sharp of diamond” motif. These paintings frame the eyes and the mouth and form a cross on the chest, whereas wide beige bands underline the top of the legs.

The goddesses are characteristic of the Chupicuaro culture which developed in the northern center of Mexico between 600 B.C. and 200 A.D. We always find the same symbolic colors, red for life and essential fire, black evoking the nourishing earth, and beige for the crenellated motifs which represent flashes of lightning that heralds rain. The quality of this sculpture lies in the harmony of the proportions and the game on the concave and convex volumes. The artist has created a sinuous silhouette full of movements. The almost “topographic” treatment of the body may be related to the symbolism of the piece which personifies the fertility of the earth and the renewal. However, the goddess we present differs from the other known sculptures by the presence of that impressive headdress. The cross motif, drawn on the headdress and on the bust, evokes the four cardinal points, the axis being the center of the world, the perfect balance.