source:britishmuseum.org

Pottery female figurine

Pánuco Valley, Veracruz, Mexico

Middle/Late Formative Period

900 BC - AD 300

Height: 8.400 cm

Small clay figurines are relatively common throughout Mesoamerica from the Formative period (c. 2400 BC - AD 300) to the sixteenth century. Female figurines dating to the Formative period have been found at sites such as Chupícuaro in West Mexico, Tlatilco in the Central Highlands and El Prisco and Pánuco in the northern Gulf Lowlands, to name a few.

Most figurines found in archaeological excavations in Mesoamerica come from households or refuse areas, although they have occasionally been found in burials and caches. They are usually modelled by hand, with incised decoration used to outline features. The elongated torsos often contrast with the round lower part of the body. Like most of the figurines, this example appears in the nude with incised eyes, mouth, hair, navel and sexual attributes. The elongated head may indicate cranial deformation, a common practice in the Gulf Coast which later extended to the Central Highlands. The figurines are sometimes painted with mineral and vegetable pigments. Body ornaments such as earplugs, necklaces and bracelets, are rendered using an appliqué technique.

Loaned by R. Wright Barker

AOA 1936 RWB 15

Room 27: Mexico