Kneeling female figure

Mexico. Aztec. 15th to early 16th century AD

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.

The Met


“I think we got to know Rossetti pretty well … I had a good deal of talk with him, always excepting the times when ladies with beautiful hair came in … It did not signify what we were talking about or how agreeable I was; if a particular kind of reddish brown, crepe wavy hair came in, he was away in a moment struggling for an introduction to the owner of said head of hair. He is not as mad as a March hare, but hair-mad.” Elizabeth Gaskell, about Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

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