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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Mexico : Stone Pectoral Mask
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Stone Pectoral Mask - PF.4647
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 3" (7.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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For many cultures around the world, (ancient and modern), the mask serves as a medium between physical reality and the realm of spirits. The person who wears a mask, either on their face or hanging around the neck, can be in contact with ancestors or other spirits, and the mask serves to protect the wearer. During rituals, masks were seen as the 'conduit' for spirits to make themselves manifest. This lovely mask is intended to the wearer as an ornament around the neck or chest, evidenced by the double holes on both sides. The near perfect holes for eyes gives it a penetrating expression, enhanced by the slightly open mouth. Since religious ceremonies were the time when masks were 'animated' by spirits, a sense of possession or intoxication would have followed while priests went into trance. A trance-like state is clearly seen on this mask, and suggests a priest may have worn it during a ceremony where supernatural powers were invoked. The natural coloration of the stone, with its rich amber and light tan striated by black veins, lends greater mystery; and at the same time, adds a human quality as well. - (PF.4647)


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