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Seated Female Figure
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Seated Female Figure

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The ceramic sculpture shows a woman holding a cup, wearing finery including nose- and earrings, bracelets at her upper arms, and a wrapped skirt with an elaborate woven pattern. This seated female figure may have been a pair to WAM 2009.20.42, and many West Mexican figures have been found in male-female pairs. In the past, these figures, often found in tombs, were interpreted as representations of the people, perhaps married couples, buried there, but more recently, they have been interpreted as guardian figures.

In order to understand these works, Seated Woman and Seated Man, it is important to distinguish restorations from original materials. In the 1940s, both figures were reassembled from numerous fragments. At that time, a restorer repainted their entire surfaces to disguise the repairs. Recently, both were cleaned to remove the modern paint; there is a dramatic difference between the repainted and cleaned (that is, original) surfaces. The removal of the modern paint also established that these two were made as a pair, and revealed that the woman’s right hand was an inaccurate restoration. It was removed and a new hand, based on her authentic, left hand, was created. Nearly all of the Seated Man’s body had been covered with restoration materials, causing the surface to look dark and discolored.

Date Description Narrative
Treatmentcleaned; loss compensation
  • 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.
Provenance Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, 1940s, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009

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300 BC-AD 200 (Late Formative-Early Classic)
earthenware, slip paint
Accession Number
H: 21 13/16 x W: 14 3/4 x D: 12 3/8 in. (55.4 x 37.4 x 31.4 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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