The Mezcala created this seated figure with its legs propped against its body and its head inclined, perhaps gazing toward the stars. Rarer than standing figures recycled from celts, or hand axes, seated Mezcala-Chontal figures typically feature a small and rotund shape that suggests their adaptations from pebbles or small cobblestones. The comparatively realistic facial features of this piece likely place it within a later end of the Mezcala tradition. This is also considered to be the closest Mezcala type to the Chontal culture, especially due to the long and triangular shape of these figures’ noses.
A great deal remains unknown about Mezcala-Chontal traditions originating in what is now the Mexican state of Guerrero due to looting in the past and a current lack funding for systematic archaeological excavation and analysis. However, interest over the past few decades has helped scholars piece together more knowledge about these remarkable traditions and their context within the broader Mesoamerican world. For instance, more recent excavations confirm that these objects were often associated with elite burials and that they were reused by later groups such as the Mexica (Aztecs) when consecrating their most important temples.
Spencer Throckmorton Collection, New York, NY;
Gift to The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 2009-2010;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation Collection, 2010;
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.
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.
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