Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of Figures

1st century B.C.–A.D. 2nd century
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Nayarit, Iztlan del Río
Ixtlán del Río
H. 16 1/4 x W. 12 1/4 x D. 5 1/2 in. (41.3 x 31.1 x 14 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1966
Accession Number:
Not on view
Paired male and female figures are common subjects in the ceramics of the western Mexico peoples of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit. Named for the states in which the works have been discovered in quantity in deeply buried, multichambered shaft tombs, the ceramic sculptures show aspects of daily and ritual life, from ballgame representations to feasting ceremonies to deceptively simple family scenes. While subject matter was relatively consistent throughout the entire region, style distinctions existed. The figures here are in Nayarit's Ixtlán del Río style, which is characterized by thin, pliant limbs, and stout, cylindrical torsos. Gender differences center on attire and activity, but both sexes wear numerous ornaments on ears and nose. Here the male figure wears a conical hat, a shoulder cloth, and a loincloth. He holds a drum in his right hand and raised drumstick in the other. His companion wears a shoulder cloth and skirt, and her right arm is draped around his shoulder.
[Everett Rassiga, New York, until 1966]; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1966–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 594.

The American Federation of Arts. Primitive Art Masterworks: an exhibition jointly organized by the Museum of Primitive Art and the American Federation of Arts, New York. New York: The American Federation of Arts, 1974, no.5.

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