Unknown Artist (Zapotec, Mexico)
The piece is broken in three parts, the two break lines running diagonally at the top and near the base of the piece.
Notes: Offerings at the Zapotec site of Monte Albán (Valley of Oaxaca) frequently include small, flat carvings similar to this example. They usually represent frontal depictions of standing or seated male figures, whereas smaller examples depict only a frontal face. All types usually have suspension holes drilled at the sides or through the back edges, as seen here behind the figure’s earflares. These holes allowed for suspension as body adornment. For excavated examples, see Caso, Alfonso, 1965, “Lapidary Work, Goldwork, and Copperwork from Oaxaca.” In Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 3, part 2:909-911. University of Texas Press, Austin.
This style of figural stone carvings as offerings continued into the Post-Classic period (900-1521 CE) in Oaxaca among both the Zapotecs and Mixtecs of southern Mexico, although differences in artistic style distinguish the later versions. Many were found in the rich cache in Mound B at Monte Albán (Monte Albán IV phase, 900-1300 CE). Examples also have been found in ritual caches in the Templo Mayor, the Aztec capital in Tenochtitlán (Mexico City).