human face with long ears; open mouth with teeth; red linear designs

Mask, c. 900-300 BCE

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Jadeite, cinnabarexpand_more

The John R. Van Derlip Fundexpand_more  2002.127

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This mask was created about 3000 years ago, perhaps as a portrait of a leader among the Olmec people of Mesoamerica (present-day southern Mexico). It was likely reserved for ceremonial use. An artist sculpted it from jadeite, then carved lines and highlighted them with a red mineral powder of mercury sulfide (cinnabar). These lines may replicate face paint or tattooing. The rare materials and symbolic designs, like the supernatural human-jaguar whose face hovers above the right eye, reflect the ruler's religious and political power.

Details
Title
Mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2002.127
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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human face with long ears; open mouth with teeth; red linear designs