Not on view
Three-dimensional stone masks depicting a conventionalized human-like face are abundant in the sculptural style associated with the great Central Mexican city of Teotihuacan. With its geometrically rendered horizontal brow, triangular nose, and oval mouth and eyes, this mask depicts an idealized facial type that seems to function as a symbol, rather than a portrait, similar to other standardized motifs present in the art of Teotihuacan. The depressions of the eyes and the mouth suggest that this whitish onyx mask might have originally possessed inlaid pyrite or shell for the depiction of eyes and teeth.
Perforations at the sides on the reverse 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 larger, perishable sculptures of human or deity figures or mounted on or placed within mummy or deity bundles. They may represent a local version of the Mesoamerican maize deity, the stony faces as metaphors for maize seeds to be planted and reborn as tender sprouts.
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