A fine Teotihuacan Obsidian Stone Mask, Early Classic Period, ca. 450 - 650 CE
This fine mask showcases the craftsmanship and artistic skills of the ancient Teotihuacan civilization. The use of dark obsidian, a volcanic glass believed to hold supernatural properties, adds a unique and striking visual quality to this piece. The mask stands out for its geometric simplicity; the facial planes are crisply carved, reflecting a style that emphasizes clean lines and well-defined shapes, that embodies a concept of idealized beauty according to Teotihuacan aesthetics. Teotihuacan artisans were skilled in capturing even the smallest nuances of facial features in their artworks which is evidenced here by the slender curved nose, subtletly modeled lips and the drilled eyes that once held inlays. These inlays could be made from various materials, such as shells, jade, or other precious stones, to create a contrasting effect against the dark obsidian, adding depth and detail to the eyes, and making them more lifelike and captivating.
Holding deep cultural and ceremonial significance within Teotihuacan society, this mask was probably used in rituals, ceremonies, or even as a part of burial practices. The combination of geometric simplicity, idealized beauty, and intricate detailing showcases the Teotihuacan people's artistic sophistication and their ability to create captivating and symbolic artifacts.
Dimensions: Height: 6 inches (15.24 cm)
Condition: Good weathered surface with minor erosion and small losses to the obsidian.
Provenance: Private Florida collection acquired between 1968 - 1969 and then by descent.
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