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Seated Male Figure
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Seated Male Figure

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This male figure wears a cone-shaped hat with a textile design and a fringed border. Male figures with conical hats are believed to represent warriors, as many hold clubs. The headdress would have protected the warrior’s head and made him seem larger and more imposing on the battlefield. As a warrior, he would be identified with his community, indicated to locals by the very specific zigzag design on the hat.These figures have often been interpreted as representations of the people buried in the tomb, 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.

  • 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 Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles; purchased by John G. Bourne, 1940s; given to Walters Art Museum, 2009.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009

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300 BCE-200 CE (Late Formative-Early Classic)
earthenware with slip paint
Accession Number
H: 23 3/4 x W: 14 3/8 x D: 11 11/16 in. (60.4 x 36.5 x 29.7 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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