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Seated Woman, c. 1500–1200 B.C.


The Xochipala figures are named after the remote West Mexican village near which all known examples have been found. The style is one of extraordinary physical presence and naturalism for its period. Characteristic of this regional style are anatomical details rendered with consummate skill: fully modeled eyeballs with pierced pupils, parted lips revealing two rows of teeth, finely worked feet with fanned toes, and delicately incised hair fashioned into a stylized arrangement. This figure embodies all of these traits, and though small in size, is modeled with remarkable sophistication, especially in the intent facial expression, articulated coiffure, and delicately fringed shawl, all accentuated by the extreme simplicity of the dress. Its success in capturing the spirit and physical presence of an actual woman inevitably raises the question of whether it was intended, in some sense, to be a portrait.



(John Stokes, New York);

purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1971.