View full screen - View 1 of Lot 11. Colima Stone Mask, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, circa 300 BC - AD 300.
11

Colima Stone Mask, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, circa 300 BC - AD 300

Estimate:

60,000 - 80,000 USD

Property from an American Private Collection

Colima Stone Mask, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, circa 300 BC - AD 300

Colima Stone Mask, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, circa 300 BC - AD 300

Estimate:

60,000 - 80,000 USD

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Property from an American Private Collection

Colima Stone Mask, Late Preclassic/Protoclassic, circa 300 BC - AD 300


Height: 7 1/4 in (18.4 cm)

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Robert L. Stolper, Stolper Galleries, Munich, acquired in the 1960s or early 1970s
Peter G. Wray, Scottsdale, acquired from the above on January 21, 1975
Herbert L. Lucas, Los Angeles, acquired from the above on January 31, 1983
American Private Collection, acquired from the above in 2003
Stolper Galleries, ed., Exotica 2 : eine Sammlung von Meisterwerken, undated, back cover
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, ed., Ancient American Art: An Aesthetic View, Boston, 1981, pl. 21
Gerald Berjonneau, Emile Deletaille, and Jean-Louis Sonnery, eds., Rediscovered Masterpieces of Mesoamerica, Boulogne, 1985, p. 166,  fig. 230
Richard F. Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, Chicago, 1998, p. 62, fig. 11

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, Ancient American Art: An Aesthetic View, November 7 - December 20, 1981
Detroit Institute of Arts, 1985 - October 24, 2001 (long-term loan, inv. no. T1985.200.42)
Art Institute of Chicago, Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, September 5 - November 22, 1998; additional venue: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, December 20, 1998 - March 29, 1999
Denver Art Museum, October 24, 2001 - November 1, 2004 (long term loan, inv. no. TL-22645)
The minimal, stylized face emits a powerful presence by the contrast of the solid and undulating facial planes interrupted by the perfectly round perforated eyes placed slightly askew. The nose and brows are carved in prominent relief and the open mouth is indicated by the recessed oval; small projections form the ears. The pierced eyes convey the primacy of sight for this ceremonial mask.

The mask is made of highly prized mottled green/blue and black stone that likely was transported from Guerrero. The color of blue/green stone is well known to be associated with water and fertility in ancient Mexico. It is noteworthy that the exact style of a circular face with rounded drilled eyes occurs on figures made from the rare spondylus shell, and on small greenstone figures (see Camberos and de la Vaga, in Richard F. Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, Chicago, 1998, pp. 62-63, figs. 12 and 13). These rare small shell and greenstone objects are considered the ornaments and accouterment of important individuals; a life-sized stone mask as this example would be a particularly prized object. 

For a highly similar example, see Mireille Holsbeke, Karel Arnaut, Offerings for a New Life, Funerary Images from Pre-Columbian West Mexico, Antwerp, 1998, p. 133, fig. 63.