Private Collection, acquired by the late 1960s
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, long term loan, 2000 - 2010
The Huastec staff figures of the Gulf Coast region are a distinct and enigmatic type. They are carved in tan limestone and typically are of aged figures hunched forward with the aid of a tall staff before them. The figure leans on his staff with both arms held close to the body and his hands wrapped tightly around the top. the fingernails fully modelled. His has the classic agd features of the mature individual with sharp cheekbones over sunken mouth area, set jaw and small rounded eyes. This figure wears a conical hat with the semi-circular plaited diadem ornament in the back, indicative of a ceremonial or high status position. This headdress is mainly a feature of the large standing priestess sculptures.
For the large, defining example of a staff figure, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (inv. no. 1978.412.17), see von Winning, Pre-Columbian Art of Mexico and Central America, New York, 1968, p. 227, fig. 330; for the staff figure type, see de la Fuente and Solana, Escultura huasteca en piedra: catálogo, Mexico City, 1980, pp. 89-100, pls. CCXVIII-CCXXXIX.