Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Smiling" Figure

Date:
7th–8th century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz
Culture:
Remojadas
Medium:
Ceramic
Dimensions:
H. 18 11/16 x W. 11 3/4 x D. 6 1/4 in. (47.5 x 29.9 x 15.9 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1211
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
This Smiling Figure from the Remojadas region of Veracruz is a hollow ceramic sculpture representing an individual celebrating with music and dance. This class of ceramic figural ritual participants is often found ritually smashed and decapitated. This bare-chested figure, with open mouth and filed teeth, stands energetically with legs spread and arms lifted as if caught in mid-motion. He wears a woven cap with geometric patterns, an elaborate skirt, circular earrings, a beaded necklace and a bracelet. His face and body contain painted patterns, evocative of body paint, including slight lines emanating from his lower eyelids and onto his cheeks. This sculpture evokes a festive dance or ritual accompanied by the rhythmic reverberation of the hand-held rattle and celebratory sound escaping from the figure's open mouth.
[Edward Merrin Gallery, New York, until 1969]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1969, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1969–1978

Newton, Douglas. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p. 135.

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.



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