4699 - Authentic Teotihuacan-Style Stone Masks: a Preliminary Study Based on Archival Documents

Stone masks have been included in the Teotihuacan repertory of art forms since studies of the ancient city began more than a century ago. From those early days and for many following decades, the genre was generally described as the ideal visage of the Teotihuacan face, beautiful in proportion with a serene and/or powerful expression. More recent studies have recognized particular facial configurations that distinguish one from another, suggesting that these stone masks were intended to portray individual persons, rather than an ideal visage; however, a rigorous analysis of details is lacking. The terracotta masks that are associated with censers -- and with which the stone masks are frequently compared -- are much more standardized. Equally anonymous and even more abstract are faces represented on painted ceramics and murals. Rare exceptions are found in the corpus of mold-made figurines. This study is a first step in bringing to public awarenes the subtle differences in the masks which can only be accomplished by limiting the examples to those known from secure contexts, particularly from excavations carried out prior to the 1960s, as more recent finds are presented elsewhere in this symposium. Primary information comes from archival and other reliable documented sources. Stone masks are invariably included in publications on Teotihuacan material culture, but with little or no emphasis on known context. Information from this study may be added to the existing inventory of recorded items; and furthermore, will enlarge our understanding of the nuances of the lapidaries' art.

Keywords: Teotihuacan, masks, representation of human face

Author: Scott, Sue (none, Ud States of Am / USA)


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