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Standing Female Figure with Tall Headdress and Ankle-length Dress
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Standing Female Figure with Tall Headdress and Ankle-length Dress


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This object is a musical instrument—a whistle—in the form of a goddess. The goddess’s impressive headdress is made of three parts. Rising vertically is a crocodile emerging above the center of the woman's head, blowing bubbles from its snout. To the left a vulture juts out, and to the right is a parrot or other tropical bird. The birds in her headdress suggest she may be a precursor to the later Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal (whose name means Flower-bird or Precious Flower). Xochiquetzal is associated with love, fertility, and sexual pleasure and is also the patron deity of feather-workers, weavers, and embroiderers. It's easy to imagine someone playing this whistle to the beat of drums and the pounding of Xochiquetzal’s devotees’ dancing feet.
Conservation

The figure is constructed of multiple fragments including the headdress, bird heads on hands, the main body, and ear spools. It was treated to remove excess adhesive from a previous assembly. The join between the two fragments of the headdress was filled and inpainted. Thermoluminescence testing was done on the body of the figure suggesting the last firing was between 900-1400 years ago, consistent with the attributed dates.

Date Description Narrative
1/19/2017Treatmentexamined for exhibition; examined for technical study; filled; inpainted; thermoluminescence
Exhibitions
  • Crowning Glory: Art of the Americas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2018.
Provenance Robert and Marianne Huber, Dixon, Tennessee; D. Daniel Michel, Chicago, active ca. 1950s-70s; Ancient Art of the New World, New York; Private collection, January 1991; given to Walters Art Museum, 2008.
Credit Anonymous gift, 2008

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Creator
Period
600-900 CE (Late Classic)
Medium
earthenware
(Ceramics)
Accession Number
48.2804
Measurements
H: 15 3/8 x W: 11 3/8 x D: 4 1/2 in. (39 x 28.9 x 11.5 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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