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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Aztec Art : Aztec Stone Sculpture of an Animal/Human
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Aztec Stone Sculpture of an Animal/Human - PF.2188
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 1300 AD to 1521 AD
Dimensions: 4" (10.2cm) high x 8.5" (21.6cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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Aztec....the name immediately evokes a magnificent culture, one with a pantheon of awe-inspiring gods, dramatically spendid ceremonies and rituals, and an abundance of monumental art and architecture. Highly adept at working with stone, the Aztec artists created artworks that were both grand in scale, as evidenced in their temple architecture, and relatively small in size, as seen in this fantastic composite animal-human figure. Like many cultures, the Aztecs believed that many animals had supernatural symbolic associations. Therefore, although the Aztec gods were usually visualized in human form, most gods also had animal aspects. Moreover, it was believed that both men and gods could, at certain times, actually change themselves into powerful animals. Perhaps what we are experiencing in this spirited stone sculpture is one such transformation, interpreted by an inspired and highly talented Aztec artist. Crouched before us on curling legs is some form of animal whose large, all-seeing eyes scrutinize its surroundings. At the opposite end of the creature, a man's face appears. Protuding from between the animal's legs as if it were about to emerge full-bodied from the very animal itself. Highly symbolic, this compelling sculpture gives us a tantilizing glimpse into the collective mind and spirit of the Aztecs. While its original meaning may have been erased by the sweeping passage of time, the sculpture nevertheless communicates on a primal level, emotions that are shared by all mankind. - (PF.2188)


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