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Art of the Ancient Americas

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Open Access

Nayarit Seated Couple (Male)

Artist: Unknown Mexican Artist Primary
Date: 200 BCE- 200 CE
3rd century BCE-3rd century CE
Dimensions: 19.5 x 11.5 in. (49.53 x 29.21 cm)
Object Type: Statue
Creation Place: North America, Mexico, Nayarit
Medium and Support: Terracotta (Red ware)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Fass
Accession Number: 2018.10.02
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries


Purchased at auction at Sotheby Parke-Bernet Galleries by Jacob Fass on October 11, 1975 (Sale #3451, Lot #33); gift to Fairfield University 2003; transferred to the Fairfield University Art Museum collection in 2018.


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Late Classic
Refers to the period of art in Mesoamerica from around 600 CE to 900 CE. Sculptural styles of the period varied according to region. In Tierra Blanca, pottery and ceramic bowls featured mold-made ritual scenes in high relief. Figures from Nopiloa are commonly mold-made but coated with a cream-colored slip. In most regions, pottery and clay sculpture prominently feature standing and seated female figures with ornate headdresses, beaded necklaces, and knotted snake belts and include cream-slipped bowls finely painted with realistic and imaginary animals and costumed figures organized in pairs or trios. Lapidary art of the period features three forms associated with a sacred ball-game: the yuog, palma, and hacha. In architecture, the style exhibits stelae and altar structures that feature large, zoomorphic frontal figures in high relief, decorated with dense costume designs. Painting styles of the period represent humans in urban contexts among pyramids, thrones, staircases, and market places and feature rich colors as symbols. Murals of the period depict expressive historical, military, and ritual scenes and decorate temples and vaults.
Sculpture in the round, usually but not always depicting humans, animals, mythical beings, or small figure groups. Statues are relatively large in scale, being life-size, larger than life-size, or only slightly smaller than life-size. For small-scale representations of humans, animals, or mythical beings, use "figurines," "statuettes," or another appropriate term. For depictions of humans, animals, or mythical beings in media other than sculpture, use "figures (representations)."
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.

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