View full screen - View 1 of Lot 2. Olmec Greenstone Head, Middle Preclassic, circa 900 - 600 BC.
2

Olmec Greenstone Head, Middle Preclassic, circa 900 - 600 BC

Estimate:

30,000 - 40,000 USD

Property from a New York Private Collection

Olmec Greenstone Head, Middle Preclassic, circa 900 - 600 BC

Olmec Greenstone Head, Middle Preclassic, circa 900 - 600 BC

Estimate:

30,000 - 40,000 USD

Lot sold:

27,720

USD

Property from a New York Private Collection

Olmec Greenstone Head

Middle Preclassic, circa 900 - 600 BC


Height: 2 3/4 in (7 cm)

Overall excellent condition. Great details of carving and drilling around the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. Small, ancient nick on the top of the head and some typical scratches on the back of the head, given age of wear. Intact as is.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.

New York Private Collection, acquired before 1964
Michael D. Coe, ed., The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership, Princeton, 1996, p. 309, cat. no. 229
The Art Museum, Princeton University, The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership, December 16, 1995 - February 25, 1996; additional venue: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, April 14 - June 9, 1996
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, long term loan, 2000 - 2010
The expressive head, once on a standing figure, is attributed to the Guerrero region, yet the iconic characteristics of the purest Olmec style are eloquently portrayed. The high arch of the parted lips is accented by the drilled philtrum beneath the nose, and the delicately pointed chin includes a dimpled lower lip. Deep vertical lines accent the cheeks, the eyes are large and deeply recessed for inlay, with grooves beneath possibly for additional inserts to highlight the lower lids. The long ears are drilled for ornaments.

For heads of similar style, see two complete figures in Michael D. Coe, ed., The Olmec World: Ritual and Rulership, Princeton, 1996, p. 148, cat. no. 18, and p. 154, cat. no. 26.