Standing female figure

Central Veracruz
450–600 CE
more object details

General Description

These three standing female figures (1973.62, 1973.63, 1973.64) fit within the Classic period south-central Veracruz ceramic tradition. Formed by coil or slab technique with mold made faces, Veracruz ceramics usually depict human figures, often elaborately costumed, in a variety of poses. These examples wear intricate beaded headdresses, ear ornaments, necklaces, and decorated textile dress or skirt and shirt with geometric motifs and a monkey-like animal depicted on the chest in varying positions. The lower motifs on the skirt are common, but the monkey motif is unusual. Portrayed in a powerful wide stance with hands facing outward, either in an ecstatic raised pose (1973.63) or resting on the hips (1973.62, 1973.64), this could be a reference to a ritual or ceremonial pose. Two of the figures actually have a whistle above the left hands (1973.62, 1973.64), and their function as musical instruments may relate further to their ceremonial or celebratory purpose. These figures are possibly from the El Faisán area, near the Gulf Coast of Mexico in south-central Veracruz. Most Faisán figures are smaller, and depict sacrificial women or men dressed as women. These larger female figures are thus exceptional because of their size. Veracruz ceramics were often deliberately broken, used ritually as offerings, and were often buried with the dead.

Adapted from

  • Carol Robbins, "Bowl with ceremonially costumed figures (1977.52)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 187.

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Bowl with ceremonially costumed figures (1977.52)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 41.

  • Carol Robbins, Label text [1977.52], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

  • S. Jeffrey K. Wilkerson, DMA unpublished material [1973.62, 1973.63, 1973.64], 1993.

  • DMA unpublished material [1970.5; 1973.62; 1973.63; 1973.64].