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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Teotihuacan Art : Teotihuacan Stone Idol
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Teotihuacan Stone Idol - PF.6231a
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 300 AD to 600 AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: Great Britain
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The period from about 150 to 900 A.D. was the most remarkable in the entire development of Meso-America. This era of fluorescence, known as the classic period, saw the emergence of great Meso-American civilizations, ones that could easily compare with those of other parts of the globe. It was truly the golden age of Mexico, when the arts reached their highest refinement, when the seeds that were planted earlier reached their fruition. The greatest city of all was ancient Teotihuacan, the most important site in the whole of Mexico. A place of legend and mystery, Teotihuacan is literally translated to "where people become gods." It was here, where the ancient gods met, and it was here that creative masterpieces, such as this green stone idol were skillfully rendered. We see in this striking image the characteristic Teotihuacan art style, elegant and refined, stylized and ordered, resulting in an ancient work of art that also appears strikingly modern. The Teotihuacan artist has skillfully reduced the forms of a figiure to a few lines and curves, in the mode of early 20th century abstract art, all of which serve to heighten and intensify the spirited essence of this powerful piece. The standing figure may be a god himself. In state of meditation, it appears as though he is chanting a prayer. The concentric rings that radiate from the center of his crown may be a visual symbol of his hypnotic state. This figure's smooth surface bears the ages of time and years of rubbing. The color green, bearing the breath of life, may have been carved specifically to represent good fortune and protection. Perhaps the owner of this precious relic used it as a good luck charm and looked up to it as an object of great reverence. Although the great civilization of Teotihuacan met its untimely end around 700 A.D., by the hand of invaders, the creative spirit of the people lives on in this bold stone mask, its dynamic energy transcending the boundaries time and space. - (PF.6231a)


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