Property from an American Private Collection
HUASTEC SEATED FIGURE, PANUCO REGION LATE PRECLASSIC-PROTOCLASSIC, CIRCA 300 BC - AD 300
Height: 2 ⅜ in (6 cm)
Appears to be in excellent condition, no visible repairs to the naked eye.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
D. Daniel Michel, Chicago, acquired in 1965 (inventory no. 65:115)
Ancient Art of the New World, New York, acquired from the above
American Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1991
Everett McNear, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, Chicago, 1982, p. 6, cat. no. 12
The Arts Club of Chicago, High Culture in the Americas before 1500, November 15 - December 31, 1982
This exquisite miniature figure from Panuco is one of a group of six which Gillett Griffin notes "appear to be depictions of the same person […] modeled by the same master hand". (Griffin in Goldstein, ed., Ceremonial Sculpture of Veracruz, Brookville, 1987, p. 20). Other examples from this tiny corpus are in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (inv. no. 65-3/3), and the Cleveland Museum of Art (inv. no. 1966.17).
With the deftest of touches, the master sculptor has imbued this delicate sculpture with life. The pose is at once serene and attentive. The head, slightly tilted, looks out with an expression which is languid yet intent. The long, lithe arms are outstretched, with the fingers resting gently on the legs.
The purpose of this figure is elusive. We may wonder if it was perhaps intended to "help or reassure the deceased in his long journey into the strange world of the dead" (ibid., p. 21), but this question remains unanswered. What we may appreciate and understand on looking at this object is the beauty and tenderness with which a great artist has exalted the dignity of the human figure.