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Lot 78: Large/Fine Veracruz Sonriente Head
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Pre-Columbian, Vera Cruz, ca. 100 BCE to 800 CE. This is a very nice example of a hollow pottery "Sonriente" head from the Veracruz region of Gulf Coast Mexico. Sonrientes, or "smiling faces", are the most famous pottery from this period in Veracruz (known as Remojadas for its keystone archaeological site). Like this one, they depict wide, smiling, childlike faces, spooled earrings, and large headdresses. The smile on this one is more of a suggestion rather than the lurid grin of the standard "sonriente" figure. Smiling faces are very rare in Mesoamerican art, but in Remojadas and the surrounding area, there are thousands of these Sonrientes figures, leading to a mystery for archaeologists. Some have suggested that the smiles are the result of consuming the alcoholic beverage pulque, or taking hallucinogenic drugs; others see them as representing performers. Size: 4.6" W x 5.75" H (11.7 cm x 14.6 cm)
Provenance: Ex Scollard collection, LA, California
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Condition Report: Head is removed from a larger statue, but the head itself