Elliptical bottle with human face

300–100 BCE
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General Description

The preclassic cultures of West Mexico occupied the modern states of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Colima, where artisans produced a variety of ceramic figures in distinctive regional styles. This vessel is from Late Preclassic (Late Formative) Guanajuato, a western state of Mexico. The geometric patterns and neutral color palette identify this bottle as Chupicuaro, a style that typically unifies form and function. In this example, the human face contours to the elliptical bean-shaped vessel, while the spout also comprises the sprouting bean form. The bold geometric patterns cover the face and extend to the body of the vessel, possibly signifying body paint, though no further appendages or costume details are indicated.

Elaine Higgins Smith, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2016.

Drawn from

  • Gallery text [West Mexico], A. H. Meadows Galleries.

  • "Figure Vessel (1979.206.606)." In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1979.206.606/. (August 2009).