Property from an American Private Collection
NAYARIT AGED MALE FIGURE, LAGUNILLAS TYPE E PROTOCLASSIC, CIRCA 100 BC-AD 250
Height: 8 in (20.3 cm)
D. Daniel Michel, Chicago, acquired in 1971 (inventory no. 71:163)
Ancient Art of the New World, New York, acquired from the above
American Private Collection, acquired in 1991
This cream-slipped figure of the Lagunillas style evokes the intense pain and suffering of mourning rites. He sits hunched over and cross-legged, the cheeks swollen with scarification, and his hands resting on his knees as he holds a vessel in his right hand. This receptacle probably represents a cup of pulque, the drink that was consumed during mourning. The rectangular ears are pierced for removable or perishable earrings and the shorts typically worn by Nayarit men are partly delineated on this figure.
Lagunillas is a sub-style from the Nayarit region and figures of this style are notable for their smooth burnished surfaces, painted ornament, and emotive expressions. Nayarit figures commonly represent musicians, ancestral couples, family members, or ballplayers. This emotive aged figure sits in a static pose yet his expression attests to the great skill of Nayarit artists. See Butterwick, Heritage of Power: Ancient Sculpture from West Mexico, New York, 2004, pp. 34-45; also see Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico, Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, Chicago, p. 289, cat. no. 216, for the mourning figure type.