Gazette Drouot logo print
Lot n° 40

Ɵ Masquette - Portrait of a sovereign Olmec culture,...

Result :
Not available
Estimate :
Subscribers only

Ɵ Masquette - Portrait of a sovereign Olmec culture, Arroyo Pesquero, Mexico Middle Preclassic, 900-400 B.C. Speckled and veined green serpentine H. 10.5 cm - L. 8.5 cm Olmec (Arroyo Pesquero) maskette - portrait of a ruler, mottled green serpentine with veins, Mexico H. 4 in - 3 3/8 in Provenance : - Private American collection, acquired 2008 - Galerie Mermoz, Paris - Former Yvon Collet collection since 1969 This Olmec mask represents the portrait of a ruler identified by David Joralemon as the "Lord of the Double Volute" (1996: 218-219). This name is due to the incised motifs on the face (perhaps tattoos?) and may correspond to the name of the ruler or that of the dynasty to which he belonged. Other Olmec masks and figures from the Middle Preclassic show these motifs, which are found over a vast area including the Mexican highlands, as well as in the state of Guerrero (Coe, 1989: 78 and Griffin, 1981: 221). This mask is distinguished by an exceptionally deformed forehead, almond-shaped eyes and lips with drooping outer corners, as well as by its incised designs. On the left, they represent the face of a were-jaguar with a split forehead and two long scrolls underneath. Michael Coe has speculated that this face is a representation of an anthropomorphized stingray, a supernatural animal chosen for the function of its barbed sting used for self-sacrifice (1989: 76). On the right, a face seen in profile is engraved. The serpentine used to carve this mask features beige inclusions and veins of another mineral. The face is mirror-polished, indicating that the stone used is harder than most serpentine. Two suspension holes at the top of the forehead and another at the bottom of the chin suggest that the mask was worn as a pectoral or as part of a headdress assembly. It could also have been attached to a belt or a ceremonial staff. CP

Auction's title
Auction's date
Auction location