Pre-Columbian Art :
Chupicuaro Art : Chupicuaro Terracotta Sculpture of a Standing Woman
Chupicuaro Terracotta Sculpture of a Standing Woman - PF.1500
Origin: Chupicuaro, Mexico
Location: United States
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 charming figure of a
woman shows typical Chupicuaro characteristics.
She is naked and wears large earspools in a
criss-cross pattern, each dangling with long
extensions. Her hair is parted in the middle and
is built up from clay strips. A wide ornamented
necklace containing an oval object in the center
completes her finery. Her eyes are very large and
almond shaped, nicely suited to her broad, flat
face. She was probably intended as a fertility
figure, perhaps as part of the belief that life is
cyclical and re-generation continues into the
afterlife. In this sense she has indeed returned
from the other world into our world, and is as
charming and intriguing as ever.