This Mexica or Aztec portable sculpture carved from an unidentified green-gray stone depicts a squash, cocoa pod, or a gourd, with great care spent to capturing the natural appearance of a squash. This and other known examples of works depicting squash demonstrate the great value the Aztecs placed on the medicinal, nutritional, and practical properties of the squash they farmed and consumed. For instance, squash seeds were often paid as tribute to the Aztec government, while calabash gourds served as containers for liquids such as xicalli, which was used for chocolate drinks.
Using advanced agricultural techniques to create chinampas, or floating gardens, by which they gathered and shaped nutrient-rich soil from the lake bed into defined plots, the Mexica were able to reclaim land and achieve rich harvests that contributed to making Tenochtitlán (today Mexico City) one of the largest cities in the world. By the time Hernán Cortéz’s arrived in 1519 at what is today Veracruz in, in fact, Tenochtitlán with its vast networks of canals, large plazas, marketplaces, and pyramids was larger than any European city.
[Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY];
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 2007-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;
Rodrigo Prieto receives the Vilcek Prize in Filmmaking for his virtuosity and versatility—the sheer excellence and inventiveness of his work across styles and genres—and his central role in creating some of contemporary cinema’s most indelible works.
Juan Pablo González receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Filmmaking for the artistic rigor and deep emotional engagement that he brings to his immersive and intimate explorations of his hometown in rural Mexico.
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.
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