The stone representation seen here, carved and polished from mottled green and brown stone, depicts what is often considered by scholars to be a temple or architectural model. This temple has four stairs ascending to where two columns rest upon a platform that in turn supports another platform. It is then capped with stone that juts out above the higher platform. This last element of the temple may have been planned to be carved into an abstract figure of a human being, like other models, or depict a particular location known among the Mezcala.
The Mezcala tradition of fashioning temple or architectural models endured for over 1,000 years, originating around 500 BCE. Materials like jade may have been used ritually, acting as a means of exchange similar to money among elites, associated with burials and fertility, and have originated from reworking stone tools or ritual representations of objects that were believed to be invested with great spiritual power.
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.
Neri Oxman receives the Vilcek Prize in Design for creating forms that challenge traditional principles of architecture, product design, and fashion, and juxtapose material properties with environmental constraints.