Located in the central Mexican Highlands, Teotihuacan was established by the 2nd century AD and became one of the largest cities in the world by the 6th century. It was the most important city in ancient Mesoamerica at the time, extending its influence and power into the contemporaneous Maya world to the south. The Aztecs revered the ancient monuments of Teotihuacan as the 'place of the gods' and took stone masks and figures from there, to their own sacred center at Tenochtitlan.
The city of Teotihuacan was built on the natural alignment of the sacred mountains and caves in the area, further organized by the manmade grid that imposed uniformity along a directional axis. This designing principle applied to the stone art of the idealized masks, and symmetrical and formal figures such as this sculpture. The figure has strong vertical and horizontal planes, with narrow openings at the arms reminiscent of specific Mezcala figures from Guerrero. The strong pectoral muscles are finely sculpted and the broad face has large oval eyes and full lips slightly opened, indicating a lifelike but resolute demeanor. He wears a headband with a crest as the sole permanent addition of clothing of rank. It is made from a large piece lustrous dark green veined serpentine, one of valued greenstones of the era.
The figure was part of the collection of William Spratling, an avid early collector of Pre-Columbian art, who documented various styles of stone figures and objects in the important 1964 publication, Escultura Precolombina de Guerrero.
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