Standing figure

250–650 CE
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General Description

The human figure was a popular sculptural theme at Teotihuacan (Teotihuacán), carved in a range of sizes and in a variety of stones. As exemplified in this carved obsidian standing figure, the body tends to be idealized in form with a focus on the human face with less emphasis on the definition of individual features, form, or expression. The almond-shaped eyes, flattened nose, and large mouth reflect features common to the Teotihuacan style. The hands rest clasped across the chest and may indicate a ritual gesture, but further costume details are absent. Though the original function of such figures are unknown, both figures and masks were often inlaid with additional decoration, usually on the teeth and eyes, and often dressed for special occasions. Despite the miniature scale, this carved figure is both impersonal, yet imposing, and conveys an emblematic sense of authority.

Adapted from

  • Carol Robbins, Label text [1973.49], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

  • "Standing Figure, 1979.206.585," The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Accessed August 15, 2016).