Title: Architectural Fragment
Date: c.400–550
Culture: Teotihuacan
Period: Early Classic period
Medium: pumice
12 1/8 x 14 15/16 x 5 1/16 in. (30.8 x 38 x 12.8 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Morton D. May
Object Number: 217:1978
Place made: Mexico (state), Mexico
Current Location: On View, Gallery 114
This simple face, rendered with two holes for eyes and one for the mouth, may have adorned a wall or doorway in a Teotihuacan dwelling. The reddish pumice would have been relatively easy to carve, so the minimal treatment suggests a deliberate and specific representation. The identity of the face remains a mystery; it is known to scholars as the Mask God. A few similar monuments exist, and small ceramic figurines with minimal faces are known. The abstraction of the face appealed to a 20th-century aesthetic; this piece was originally collected by Julius Carlebach, a dealer who also specialized in modern art.
Publication History
Title: Pre-Columbian Art: The Morton D. May and the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections
Author: Lee A. Parsons
Author: Ryntha M. Johnson
Publisher: Harper & Row
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