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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Xochipala Art : Xochipala Terracotta Sculpture
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Xochipala Terracotta Sculpture - CK.0089
Origin: Western Mexico
Circa: 1050 BC to 500 BC
Dimensions: 7.125" (18.1cm) high x 2.125" (5.4cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The name Xochipala has been attached to an early style of figurines and pottery unearthed in the modern Mexican state of Guerrero. Xochipala figures are noteworthy not only for naturalism, but also for their age. The Xochipala style dates to the Early Formative period of Pre- Columbian Mesoamerican history (around 1800- 200 B.C.), making them among the earliest works of figurative art in the region, contemporaneous with the more celebrated Olmec culture of the Gulf Coast. While certain scholars have tried to trace links between the Olmec and Xochipala styles, other scholars have ardently disagreed, making it possible that any artistic similarities may have derived from cross-cultural influences and not direct relations. While the Olmecs may have overshadowed the Xochipala culture in our contemporary popular knowledge of Mesoamerican history, Xochipala figures are almost universally praised by scholars and connoisseurs for their striking naturalistic modeling and sensitive depictions.

This figure stands upright with his arms held along his sides and his hands over his stomach. While his arms are thin and narrow, his legs are thick, and grow larger towards the bottom, as if he was wearing leg warmers or shin guards.

This piece is composed of two ancient fragments, the body and the head, that have been combined despite originating from separate works. - (CK.0089)


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