Description Exquisitely molded and modeled, this splendid rendering of a woman with a basket typifies the detailed ceramic sculptures of Classic Period Veracruz. The naturalistic depiction of soft, pliable cloth in the rigid medium of fired clay attests to the artist's command of the medium. The lady's elaborate headdress is composed of a wide, plain piece of cloth wrapped around her head bound with head bands of oval beads and strips of cloth. Her body is draped in a sleeved tunic that fl oats on top of her long wrap skirt. She is adorned with a single-strand necklace of rounded beads and a central rectangular pendant, with smaller versions encircling each wrist. The necklace is tied at the back of her neck, its four thin tie-ends terminating in oblong beads. The figure's ornate earrings represent sectioned conch shells. The sectioned conch shell is the "wind jewel" or ehecailacacozcatl, an identifying symbol of Quetzalcóatl, the god of rain, wind, and war during the Classic Period. This deity was particularly associated with the cultures of the Gulf Coast. During Postclassic times, Quetzalcóatl was closely connected with the pilgrimage center of Cholula, located on the passage between coastal Veracruz and the Valley of Mexico, where he was the patron of rulers and associated with priests and merchants as well. On her right shoulder this Nopiloa lady balances a flat-bottomed basket with a double-strap handle, recalling the typical carrying baskets used by women in Mexican markets today. The basket contains a pile of hand-made cigars and an unidentified rectangular folded item. Her fine dress and sophisticated jewelry suggest that she is more than a commonplace market girl.
- Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1400 A.D.. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe. 1998-2008.
- Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
- Crowning Glory: Art of the Americas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2018.
Provenance Michael Robins; purchased by John G. Bourne, 1990s; given to Walters Art Museum, 2009.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009
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