Covered in a two-toned red-brown slip, a seated male shaman figure resting both hands on his splayed legs, his head facing forward with incised almond-shaped eyes, a long nose, slashed mouth, and incised ear holes, wearing an incised headband with chin strap, wrapped around a central shaman’s horn, and incised loincloth.
The horn suggests figures such as these may be shaman figures communicating between the living and the dead, although they may also be the tips of conch shells worn to signify rulership. Many such figures were placed in tombs as guardians and those with aggressive postures were protectors against unwanted visitors.
Cf: Mary Ellen Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec, Fourth Edition London: Thames and Hudson (2006)
Dimensions: Height: 13 1/2 inches (34.29 cm), Width: 8 inches (20.32 cm)
Condition: Scattered mineral deposits on the surface. Intact and in excellent condition.
Provenance: M. Kalman private collection, Los Angeles, California, acquired in the early 1980s, thereafter private New England collection.