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Nelson A. Rockefeller and His Daughter Mary Morgan on His Collecting

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Bench Figure

Date:
5th–2nd century BCE
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica
Culture:
Epi-Olmec
Medium:
Greenstone (muscovite-paragonite phyllite)
Dimensions:
H. 6 7/8 x W. 3 5/8 x D. 2 1/4 in. (17.5 x 9.2 x 5.7 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1123
  • Description

    This stolid figure seated on a bench is reported to be from highland Chiapas and has antecedents in earlier stone sculpture of the Olmec Gulf Coast, where monumentally scaled "altars" or thrones are thought to have served as the literal seats of power for the reigning lords. Bench figures such as this smaller greenstone variety are rare. Curiously, they often lack a foot, one leg being broken below the knee, which is a conjecturally meaningful feature. How this bench figure functioned is unclear in view of the paired drill holes on the figure's shoulders and on the sides of the bench. The holes suggest that it might have been used, or perhaps reused, in conjunction with something else. It may have been a costume element or perhaps a pendant.

  • Provenance

    [Everett Rassiga, New York, until 1964]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1964, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
313316

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