Mezcala culture, Guerrero state, Mexico, 300-100 BC
Height : 19 cm
Provenance : Collection Alexandre Bernard, Paris
Publication : "KunstKammer"
(M. Doustar, 2017), n°82
It was Miguel Covarrubias, the famous painter, ethnologist, and collector of pre-Columbian antiquities who first defined and named the Mezcala culture (1948), based on the study of small stone sculptures found in the Guerrero state of Southwestern Mexico. The culture is still poorly understood but is believed to have developed during the Middle and Late Preclassic periods of Mesoamerican chronology, between 700 and 200 BC, in the upper Balsas River region.
Mezcala-style-sculpture is characterized by abstract facial features and body suggested by lines and differences in texture. The sculptural style of the Mezcala culture may have been influenced by the Olmecs. In turn, it may have influenced the devlopment of sculpture at the Classic-period metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico.
The present figure falls into the category described as M-10 style in the classification established by Carlo Gay. Carved in a grey-green andesite with a superb polish, it closely resembles another larger figure published in M£escalates, C. Gay & F. Pratt, 1992, plate 37.