Kneeling Female Figure

Date: 15th–early 16th century

Geography: Mexico, Mesoamerica

Culture: Aztec

Medium: Stone, pigment

Dimensions: Overall: 21 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (54.61 x 26.67 cm)
Other: 10 1/2 in. (26.67 cm)

Classification: Stone-Sculpture

Credit Line: Museum Purchase, 1900

Accession Number: 00.5.16


Aztec sculptors used specific formal and aesthetic conventions to depict the human figure. Seated female figures are usually shown with their legs tucked under them, their feet turned inward so that in the back their toes are touching. Their hands rest on their knees. This sculpture depicts an elegant Aztec lady wearing a short, simple skirt fastened around the waist with a knotted belt worked in low relief. She wears no upper garment. Circular ornaments bedeck her ears. Her hair is wound about her head in two strands and held at the top. Her face has delicate rounded contours and is gently animated. The eyes and mouth are shown as recessed ovals which once contained inlays. Sculptures of females without any deity attributes are rare in Aztec art. It is possible that this figure was dressed on specific days of the ritual calendar in deity costumes made of cloth and/or other perishable materials.