TAFĺ - Argentina

100 B.C. – 600 A.D.

Height : 18 cm - Width: 14 cm - Depth: 5 cm

Diorite-type magmatic rock gray-green with a grainy structure and brown patina.


This magnificent human mask is an extremely rare ancestral work. Attached to the Tafi culture, one of the first agro-pastoral societies in Argentina, located in the highlands of the north-west, it adopts the characteristic pattern of ancient Argentinian masks.

Unparalleled among the productions of the pre-Hispanic Andes, these works, of which there are very few examples, are distinguished by their extreme stylization. This abstraction mixed with expressionism gives them an undeniable originality which strongly marked the Western art of the 20th century.

Borrowing from a great mysticism, it emanates from their round, almost astonished eyes, and their small open mouths, all the astonishment and the devotion of the first cultures of mankind towards this unfathomable cosmos which surrounds us. In an elementary creative gesture, the artists of these ancestral peoples, through these hypnotic masks, were able to express at the same time their deep interiority, their awareness of themselves and their relationship to the world with a striking spontaneity.

The chubby face is strongly hollowed out in its center. The eyes and the mouth boil down to simple circular holes. The protruding eyebrow arches accentuate the depth of the gaze. They join the prominent and straight nose, stuck like a column in the middle of the face. At the center of this singular facies, we observe the design of a hollowed out X, characteristic of Tafí faces.