Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Hunchback Leaning on Staff

Date:
10th–12th century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz
Culture:
Huastec
Medium:
Sandstone
Dimensions:
H. 35 x W. 5 3/4 x D. 14 3/4 in. (88.9 x 14.6 x 37.5 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1963
Accession Number:
1978.412.17
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
The sculpture of the Huastec area of northern Veracruz is distinctly stylized. Here, the fluidly abstract depiction of a figure leaning on a staff might represent old age itself, as it has a lined face, stooped posture, hunched back, and sagging knees. With chin resting on the staff that curves down to end beneath its feet, the figure might be of the Huastec thunder god, Mam, and the staff a digging stick used for planting. The staffs of similar sculptures, however, end in snake heads, raising questions about the specifics of such an interpretation.
[Julius Carlebach Gallery, New York, until 1954]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1954, on loan to Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1956–1963; Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1978

Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, 606.



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