The small pendant seen here was intricately carved and polished from mottled green and red stone, and displays a head with a pair of “bud-like” adornments. These possibly indicate the spiritual or political leadership rank of those individuals who possessed such objects, as most Chontal works focus on the face. Here the face has prominent eyebrows, along with triangular cuts to create the eyes, nose, and cheekbones, and further work to fashion the “coffee bean” mouth. These elements demonstrate more naturalism than most Chontal works, while the lack of adornments of similar works may indicate that Chontal artists were restrained by elite control over the style of these objects.
Generally, Chontal works adopt a more naturalistic design than the Mezcala tradition. Chontal-style figurative sculptures contain abstract but recognizable facial features, with a special prominence given to the representation of the nose. Noses depicted in the Chontal style are likely shorter and more angular during the later period of the Chontal tradition than earlier examples.
Spencer Throckmorton Collection, New York, NY;
Gift to The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 2009-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2010;