Mezcala-Chontal standing figures often appear in an elongated and oblong shape, suggesting they are recycled from earlier celts, or stone hand axes. This particular figure has noticeably “pecked” arms, which may indicate the figure was never finished. This work also boasts a uniquely fashioned head, which may represent that the person is wearing a headdress. If so, headdresses in Mesoamerica revealed strict social hierarchies as particular clothing styles/materials were restricted to certain classes. This figure also reveals links to the Chontal style especially due to the long and triangular shape of the work’s nose. These elements together likely help to date the creation of this work toward the end of the Mezcala-Chontal traditions.
A great deal remains unknown about Mezcala-Chontal traditions originating in what is now the Mexican state of Guerrero due to a lack of archaeological excavation and analysis. However, recent work concerning these beautiful abstract forms has helped scholars generate greater knowledge about these remarkable traditions and their context within the broader Mesoamerican world. For instance, these figures were likely associated with burials or rituals linked to agricultural cycles and fertility.
Spencer Throckmorton Collection, New York, NY;
Gift to The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection;
Fabián Von Hauske Valtierra receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Culinary Arts for combining diverse, international culinary influences into a singular voice that is ambitious, experimental, and accessible.
Iman Issa receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for exploring, through works of various media, difficult philosophical questions, such as the individual’s relationship to places, figures, and events that are collectively familiar, or the difference between experience and recognition.
Valeria Luiselli receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature for intelligent, distinctive fiction and nonfiction that interrogates the United States’ immigration system, and bears witness to those left voiceless by mass deportation.
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