Veracruz Standing Priestess, Nopiloa Late Classic, circa AD 550-950
- Height: 15 1/4 in (38.8 cm)
Sotheby's, New York, November 27-28, 1984, lot 143, consigned by the above
Herbert L. Lucas, Los Angeles, acquired from the above auction
American Private Collection, acquired from the above
The priestess broad face has elongated almond-shaped eyes looking downward and her full, parted lips reveal a single filed tooth indicative of her elite status. The quechquemitl tunic is a layered fabric with a bold design in appliqué of stepped scrolls and tapered flares in a symmetrical form, at each side are distinct bifurcated feathered elements, the lower portion of the tunic is overlaid on a fine mesh ground and the appliqués on the upper half are trimmed by dots. Four emblems of crossbands atop a square are placed over the chest and shoulders, and she wears a double-strand necklace with a face pendant. Long plaits of her striated hair fall onto each shoulder, held back by her disk earrings and the rounded turban of alternating textile designs. Her outstretched hands are pulled close into her shoulders, perhaps a ceremonial dance gesture.
For other figures of the Nopiloa tradition from the Jay C. Leff collection, see Elizabeth K. Easby, Ancient Art from Latin America from the Collection of Jay C. Leff, New York, 1966, figs. 371-374.