The remains of a once vibrant culture are now submerged under a lake.
Fortunately, excavations in the 1940's on the site were able to uncover sufficient
artifacts to give us an intriguing picture of people who lived there centuries ago.
Chupicuaro was the elaborate burial ground of a village above the Lerma River in
the state of Guanajuato, eighty miles northwest of the Valley of Mexico. The
abundant offerings of pottery, jade, and figurines discovered there attest to a
flourishing artistic culture. One of the most endearing types of the clay objects is
the small female figures, or 'pretty ladies'. They typically show a naked female with
short arms, extended stomach and a fancy coiffure or headdress.
This very delightful figure
has very wide eyes, her mouth is open, and she
wears an attractive headband. What at first
seems to be her tongue is probably something
she is placing into her mouth. She may be a
fertility figure interred with the deceased to
ensure continuity of 'life' in the afterlife. What is
most striking to the viewer is the feeling of
happiness and joy she exudes; undiminished
after being buried for so long.