Lot 238

Culture Veracruz, Gulf Coast, Mexico Late
Classical, 900-1200 A.D. Fire-blackened brown-red
H. 88 cm
Standing figure, legs slightly apart, arms drawn back in front of the chest with oversized hands with oversized thumbs.
The costume, i.e. the skin of the flayed person, is represented by this rough surface sewn on the trunk and covering part of the four limbs. The face, also covered with the skin of the flayed person, shows the lips of the figure in a dead, open mouth. The eyes are half-closed with the presence on the sides of imposing ears with pierced lobes.
The back of the statue is also covered with this skin, revealing a wide, smooth band at the level of the spine. (Small visible lacks and splinters, broken and glued, good general condition) "The ancient Mexicans celebrated many feasts during their 18 months of 20 days each; the most impressive took place during the second twenty, it was called Tlacaxipehualiztli and meant the flaying of men in honor of Xipe. The feast consisted of sacrificing the young warriors captured in battle, which had been specially reserved for this celebration. The end of the feast was the most impressive because the captured warrior was sacrificed by extracting the heart and the corpse was carefully flayed. A mask was made with the skin of the face and a bloody costume with the skin of the victim's legs to the neck; these remains were used as clothing to identify oneself with the divinity. According to the chronicles, the priests of Xipe or the common people who had promised to wear them to the gods put these trophies on."
Felipe Solís Oguín
This very rare anthropomorphic statue depicts both death and rebirth, with such power that the bloody sacrifice is forgotten.
Provenance: Alfred Stendhal
Gallery, Los Angeles, years 1960-1970
Franco Monti Collection, years
Franco Monti, Terrecotte precolombiana, Fratelli Fabbri Editori, Milan, 1966, described and photographed p. 55, under no. 23

Location of the item
France - 75008 Paris