Mask, Early period, Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic period, Mexico, ca. 200 BC-200 AD
Height : 14,8 cm
Provenance : Galerie Becker, Cannes, prior to 1970
Private collection, Monaco
Publication : "Masken"
(M. Doustar, 2015), n°50
The idealized stone masks of Teotihuacan are the permanent features of grand ceremonial rituals involving dressed effigies of which the masks were the fixed element. Tecali masks were a smaller corpus, with the varying color, texture and translucency of the stone possibly selected for certain effigies or festivities reserved for an elite.
Tecali is a carbonate of lime, an aragonite with a hardness of 3.5 to 4.0 on the Moss scale. It is also known as banded onyx (note the layers of di erent shades of colour), Mexican onyx, and Tehuacan marble, and is quarried in the region of Tecali in southern Puebla. Carved tecali artefacts first appeared in Mesoamerica in the late Pre-Classic period (300–200 B.C.), objects of superior quality have been reported from Teotihuacan, dating as early as A.D. 150–250.
The present mask shows strong similarities with the Sultepec type, and it was probably influenced by this earlier regional style: a soft and delicately modeled face, with a thin pointed nose, large oval eyes and mouth, slightly hollowed and drilled to receive stone or shell ornaments. The whole face is traversed by a natural linear relief used by the carver to underline the eyes. Two holes pierced at the temples were used for attachment. The original patina, deep and contrasted, is superb.
Price : on request