Art of the Ancient Americas
Artist: Unknown

Standing Figure

100 B.C.–A.D. 300


19 x 8.9 cm (7 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Olsen
Mexico, Mezcala, Guerrero
Early Classic Period
Not on view

From reciept of Andre Emmerich, 11/29/56:

On approval: As of September 20 1956

Standing Man

Mezcala Culture of the Sate of Guererro, Mexico, ca. 200 B.C. -- 800 A.D.
Blue-green stone (metadiorite?): 7 1/2 inches high
Catalog Number: G-170
This is a transitional Olmec-Mezcala figure, with still almost a predominance of Olmecoid characteristics in the treatment of the figure, its stance, face, tilt of head, bending of the knees, etc.

There is much evidence that the original Olmec occupation was in the Mezcala area: many of the finest small Olmec figurines have been found there (See on this and otehr points< Miguel Covarrubias et al., Mezcala--Ancient Mexican Sculpture, New York 1956) Covarrubias indicates the possiblility of an early Olmec occupation, with a later migration to the La Venta area.

Certainly much of the whole concept behind the celts-carve-into-human-figures sculpture of the Mezcala culture appears derived from the Olmec celt-and-figurine burials (See for example, the color photograph in National Geographic Magazine, Sept. 1956, Vol. CX, No. 3, pg 366 of seq) This figurine, stylistacally halfway between the typical Olmec figurine and ht much more stylized and simplified Mezcala celt figurine, is important evidence.


Richard Brettell, “Mezcala Stone Sculpture in the Olsen Collection,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 35, no. 1 (Summer 1974): 16–17, fig. 3.

Professor George A. Kubler, The Art and Architecture of Ancient America, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1975), pl. 76b.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.