Large Olmecoid/Teotihuacan Serpentine Torso,
Guerrero, ca. 300 B.C. - A.D. 300
Overall 12 1/4 x 8 3/8in (31.7 x 21.2 cm)
the impressive head in the round with roughened septum on the top and rectilinear ears framing the face with prominent features modeled in portrait form, with finely arched brows over recessed almond-shaped eyes framing the naturalistic nose with drilled nostrils, above a transformational mouth with raised upper lip revealing the upper gums, resting on a short, broad cylindrical neck above rounded shoulders, delicately carved clavicle, pectorals and rounded diaphragm, broken in ancient times at the torso and left arm and more recently at the right arm; finely worked smooth surface with natural inclusion lines.
David Stuart Gallery, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner in the 1960's
Cf. At the Heart of Precolumbian America (2003: pl. 33) for a similarly handsome serpentine full sculpture from the collection of Alphonese Jax.
The beautiful rendition of the head of this sculpture is the culmination of the early Olmec and later Guerrero traditions in a much refined Teotihuacan style. The eyes would have most certainly been inlaid (Cf. Teotihucan; Cité des Dieux Musée du quai Branly, 2010: fig. 324). A figure of this type is always associated with important temple rituals. Many of these sculptures were ritually broken during a ceremony. Possibly due to this, the lower extremities with the legs, and the arms are now missing, however a small part of the right arm has a modern breakage, as a casualty of a significant earthquake in Los Angeles in 1970.