This head was probably once part of a larger figure (see object 144). The face is rendered with closed eyes and open mouth, perhaps indicating death. Perforations through the top of the head may have been for the addition of decorations made of feathers or bark paper (amate); the fan-shaped attachments to the ears may represent such amate ornaments. Alternatively, it has been suggested that many of these larger ceramic figures could have functioned as incense burners, in which case the perforations may have allowed smoke to escape from the interior of the sculpture (Bussel in Leyenaar et al., 1992: 103, no.21). In the present example, however, there is absolutely no indication inside the head of the soot deposits which use as a censer would have produced. The patterning on the surface of the face appears to be the result of root damage. The figure is reported by the vendor to have come from Remojadas, Veracruz.
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection 3 volume catalogue, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997).
According to the vendor John A. Stokes Jnr., the object came from Remojadas, Veracruz.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from John A. Stokes Jnr., New York, on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1987 out of funds provided by the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust.
Measurements: h. 178 x w. 155 x d. 160 mm
Accession Number: 957
Historic Period: Late Classic period (AD 600-900)
Cultural Group: Remojadas
Credit Line: Purchased with support from the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust, 1987