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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Chupicuaro Art : Chupicuaro Terracotta Sculpture of a Standing Woman
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Chupicuaro Terracotta Sculpture of a Standing Woman - PF.1500
Origin: Chupicuaro, Mexico
Circa: 500 BC to 200 BC

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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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. - (PF.1500)


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