Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mask

Date:
3rd–7th century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica
Culture:
Teotihuacan
Medium:
Greenstone
Dimensions:
H. 9 5/16 x W. 9 3/4 x D. 4 1/4 in. (23.7 x 24.8 x 10.8cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.527
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
There was no tradition of portraiture at the great central Mexico city of Teotihuacan, but masks depicting the human face are abundant in the style associated with the site. With its geometrically rendered horizontal brow, triangular nose, and oval mouth and eyes, this mask depicts the idealized facial type that seems to function as a symbol, similar to other standardized motifs present in the art of Teotihuacan. The depressions of the eyes and the mouth suggest that this mask, like many of its counterparts, might have originally possessed inlaid shell or stone for the depiction of eyes and teeth. Although the mask is carved out of greenstone, in its original state it may have been painted like other masks of this type. Perforations at the sides suggest that it was intended to be attached to another object, but given the weight of the stone and the lack of holes for the eyes and mouth, these masks were probably not worn by living people. Instead, they may have been attached to sculptures of human figures or mounted on mummy or deity bundles.

See more at Now at the Met.
[William Spratling, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico, until 1957]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1957, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1957–1979

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, 575.



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