A teotihuacan tecali mask, Classic, ca. A.D. 450-650

of large rectangular form and deep section, with flanged ears, narrowed oval eyes and lips gently parted, high cheekbones and straight brows; pierced on the lobes for ornaments and four times at the back for attachment, in lime green translucent stone. height 8 1/4 in. 20.5cm. Est. 70,000—90,000 USD. Lot Sold 104,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Raul Kamffer, 1957

NOTE: The strong lime green color of the tecali stone enhances the idealized portraiture of this mask. The deeply recessed mouth and narrowed eyes were probably inlaid with shell or semiprecious stone, embellishing the serene face. The few masks that have been excavated at Teotihuacan were found in ritual deposits in corridors and administrative structures along the sacred avenues, supporting the theory that stone masks were ceremonial rather than funerary items. For similar examples see Berrin and Pasztory (1993: pls. 29-31, particularly the latter), see also Le Fort (2005: 75, bottom).

Sotheby's. African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art. 15 May. New York www.sotheby's.com