Teotihuacan Greenstone Mask - PF.4519
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) high x 3.875" (9.8cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Teotihuacan
Medium: Greenstone


Teotihuacan is referred to as the city of the gods. By 600 A.D. it was the sixth largest city in the world. Situated in a temperate, fertile basin its fame spread as quickly as its prosperity, with well-established trade routes and a culture that is still impressive today. With a booming economy an urban elite arose fostering intellectual activity, monumental building and the belief Teotihuacan was where the cosmos and the present cycle of life began. The concept of monumentality can apply not only to great architectural structures such as the Pyramid of the Sun, but also to much smaller objects which have an intensity that makes them larger than life. This very lovely mask falls into that category. There is a mystery surrounding this type of mask in the fact they are believed to have been part of funerary furniture, yet none have been found in burial chambers. Rather, they have been discovered near temples and complexes aligning the Street of the Dead. It is speculated they were attached to wooden armatures in temples to represent deities who are in the process of becoming gods. Hence the four drill holes. They may also have been worn on the arm as an insignia of an important person. The surface of the green stone emits palpable warmth; its face is full of compassion and serenity as if in a state of meditation. The small dot-like indentations in the eyes once contained mirror-like pyrite that would have caught the light with dazzling effect. Seeing this beautiful sculpture it is easy to imagine a secret ceremony in a temple with torches burning and masks hanging everywhere like faces from another world peering through the veil of incense. - (PF.4519)



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