Lot 74
  • 74

Teotihuacan Stone Mask Classic, Circa 450 - 650 AD

75,000 - 125,000 USD
187,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • tecali onyx


Jay C. Leff, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, acquired from the above in 1982
European Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1983


Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive Civilizations: Collection of Jay C. Leff, October 15, 1959 - January 3, 1960


Carnegie Institute, Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive Civilizations: Collection of Jay C. Leff, 1959, p. 114, cat. no. 439 (listed)

Catalogue Note

'ancient masks signal this other dimension - a transcendence of everyday life, a conversation with another world.' (Evans, ed., Ancient Mexican Art at Dumbarton Oaks, 2010, p. 44)

The idealized and refined masks of Teotihuacan are one of the defining artistic expressions of the ancient city within the largest urban area of ancient Mexico. The hard stone faces immortalized the features of the larger effigies made of perishable materials, which were carried during ceremonial occasions. The masks were a consistent 'palette' of serene and idealized beauty in contrast to the surrounding elaborate and colorful adornments.

Masks were made in greenstone, and a rarer category is the onyx or travertine sculptures such as the present example. Travertine occurs in varying degrees of translucency and color ranging from white to lime green. On this mask, the artist carefully designed and carved  the face to make use of the change of veining  and coloring, so the whitest portion is fully facing the viewer.