An investigation of the design of the ceramic figurines produced by the chief cultures of pre-Columbian Mexicoкод для вставкиСкачать
AN INVESTIGATION OF THE DESIGN OF THE CERAMIC FIGURINES PRODUCED BY THE CHIEF CULTURES OF PRE-COLUMBIAN MEXICO A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Fine Arts University of Southern California In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts by Everett Gee lackson February 1940 UMI Number: EP57815 All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. UM I Dissertation Publishing UMI EP57815 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code ProOuest ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 481 06- 1346 T h i s thesisj w r i t t e n by .EVERETT G-EE..JACKSON u n d e r the d ir e c t io n o f F a cu lty C om m ittee, a n d a p p r o v e d b y a l l its m e m b e r s , has been p r e s e n t e d to a n d a c c e p t e d b y t he C o u n c i l on G ra d u a t e S t u d y a n d Research in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t o f the re q u ir e m e n ts f o r the d egree o f MASTER OF ARTS Secretary D a te FEBRU/!RY,1940.. F aculty Com m ittee -IS w .. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTEI i I. Pace THE PROBLEM AND ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS 1 The p r o b l e m ............................... 1 Statement of the p r o b l e m .................. 1 Importance of the s t u d y .................... 2 Organization of thesis II. . . ................... 11 DEFINITION AND DISCUSSION OF TERMS USED . . . . 13 ................. 13 D e s i g n ................................. 13 F o r m ................................... 15 ..................... 16 Art f o r m ............................... 16 Felt relationship....................... 21 E x p r e s s i o n .................... 23 General meaning of terms Material form Specific meaning of t e r m s ................. 24 D e s i g n ........... 24 Material f o r m ........................... 25 Art f o r m ............................... 26 Space r e l a t i o n s h i p ...................... 27 Centripetal f o r m ....................... 33 Centrifugal f o r m ....................... 35 The art m e d i u m ......................... 37 iii CHAPTER PAGE III. ANALYSIS OF RELATED L I T E R A T U R E ........... 42 Literature on the general history of PreColumbian Mexican c u l t u r e s .......... 42 Literature on the cultures of the Valley of M e x i c o .............................. 46 Literature on the cultures outside the Valley of M e x i c o ....................... IV. THE FIGURINES OF 'THE ZAP 0TECATT CULTURE 53 .... 72 V. THE FIGURINES OF THE MAYA C U L T U R E ............ 96 VI. THE FIGURINES OF WESTERN M E X I C O .............. 116 Figurines of the archaic t y p e .......... Later figurines of the Tarascantype 116 .... 122 VII. THE FIGURINES OF EASTERN M E X I C O .............. 137 VIII. THE FIGURINES OF THE VALLEY OF M E X I C O ........ 157 The Early C u l t u r e s .................... The Toltec Period and the MazapanCulture 157 . . The Aztec P e r i o d ...................... 167 IX. CONCLUSIONS.............................. 183 BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................... 162 194 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE I. Spiridon*s Distribution of Archaic Figurines II. . . 45 Some Principal Sites in Valley of Mexico . . . . 48 III. The Maya A r e a ................................ 62 IV. The Culture Regions of M e x i c o ................ 71 V. Parallel Frontal Plane Arrangement in Zapotecan VI. F i g u r i n e s ................................. 77 Plane Arrangement in Zapotecan Figurines . . . . 77 LIST OF PLATES PLATE PAGE 1. Zapotecan figurine ............................ 82 2. Main horizontal and vertical divisions in Zapotecan figurine ......................... 3. Main lines of action in Zapotecan figurine 4. Rhythmic action in Zapotecan figurine ... ........ 83 84 85 5. Main horizontal directions in Zapotecan fig urine ....................................... 86 6. Main horizontal and vertical divisions in a Zapotecan figurine ......................... 7. Rhythmic character in a Zapotecan figurine 87 ... 88 Zapotecan figurines ......................... 89 8. Parallel, frontal plane arrangement in 9. Action of triangular planes in Zapotecan f i g u r i n e ................................... 90 10. Principle of arrangement of planes in Zapotecan f i g u r i n e ................................... 91 11. Action lines which affect horizontal plane on which Zapotecan figurine rests .............. 92 12. Vertical, horizontal, and rhythmic relationships in Zapotecan figurine ....................... 93 13. Zapotecan figurine showing comparatively naturalistic f o r m ........................... 94 vi PLATE PAGE 14. Zaootecan figurine showing Mayan influence ... 15. Maya figurine.................................. 95 106 16. Maya figurine from Santa Rita, British H o n d u r a s ................................... 17. Maya figurine showing curvilinear rhythm 107 .... 108 18. Maya clay vessel with head, Santa R i t a ........ 109 19. Late mouldmade type of Maya f i g u r i n e .......... 110 20. Maya head f o r m s ................................ Ill 21. Maya figurine.................................. 112 22. Main action lines in a Maya f i g u r i n e .......... 113 23. Main action lines in a Maya f i g u r i n e .......... 114 24. Maya figurine showing aesthetic effect in expression of violent features .............. 115 25. Tarascan figurine .............................. 126 26. Line drawing of Tarascan figurine.............. 127 27. Angular character of Tarascan design.. .......... 128 28. Archaic type head from near Lake Chapala . . . . 129 29.1. Line drawing of side view of archaic type head; 2.Drawing to show construction of same head . . . . 130 Angular action in archaic type h e a d ............ 131 31. Tarascan figurine .............................. 132 32. Angular action in Tarascan figurine ............ 133 33. archaic type figurine from near LakeChapala 134 30. . . 34. Figurine from near T e p i c ...................... 135 vii PLATE PAGE 55. Archaic type bowl, Chapala district ............ 136 36. Laughing Totonac head ........................ 146 37. Laughing Totonac head ........................ 147 38. Totonac f i g u r i n e .......................... 148 39. Main action lines in Totonac figurine.......... 149 40. Archaic type head from near Vera C r u z .......... 150 41. Concentric movement in archaic type head 151 .... 42. Figurines from Panuco river valley ............ 152 43. Figurine from Panuco river valley ............ 153 44. Totonac figurine .............................. 154 45. Figurine from Panuco river valley .............. 155 46. Figurine from Panuco river valley .............. 156 47. Head from Ticoman, Valley of M e x i c o ............ 171 48. Figurine from Valley of Mexico, Early Culture . . 172 49. Main action lines, showing similarity to design in Western Mexico. Valley of Mexico ........ 173 .... 174 50. Early Culture figurine, Valley of Mexico 51. Angular design in figurine from Early Cultures, Valley of M e x i c o ........................... 52. Early Culture head, Valley of Mexico. 175 Influence from Zapotecan region ....................... 176 53. Heads from Early Cultures, Valley of Mexico . . . 177 54. Figurines from Teotihuacan. a, c, d, e, Teotihuacan II; b, Mazapan t y p e ................. 178 viii PLATE 55. PAGE Heads from Teotihuacan. a, archaictypes; b, transitional types; c, Toltectypes ......... 179 56. Teotihuacan II h e a d s ......................... 180 57. Figurine from Mazapan c u l t u r e ................. 181 58. Aztec f i g u r i n e ............................... 183 CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM AND ORGANIZATION OF THESIS The cultures of Pre-Columbian Mexico and Central America have received exhaustive study from anthropologists and archaeologists and a great part of this work has neces sarily involved the examination and classification of the various surviving monuments of those cultures. On the whole, however, such examination and classification has been made solely with the end of anthropological and archae ological knowledge in view. These works have been studied as records which might throw light upon the mode of practi cal living and the general picture of the activities of these different cultures. They have been accepted mainly as the next best material where factual historical records have not been available. Certain of these investigators have, in passing, given some attention to these same works as examples of creative art; but their viewpoint, even so, has remained necessarily that of their own profession. I. THE PROBLEM Statement of the problem. It was the purpose of this study to choose one particular kind of manufactured object which was common to all the Pre-Columbian cultures 2 of Mexico, and to analyze its basic design or art form. This design or art form was conceived to be the abstract space order underlying subject content. With such an aim in view ceramic figurines were chosen for study and an attempt was made to discover the general characteristics of the art form in each of the chief cultures. Included in the problem was the establishment of the basis for such an analysis. This was to be presented in the form of a discussion of the processes of idea and activity development in art. Importance of the study. In analyzing the importance of this study, its possible value to students specializing in art, archaeology, and anthropology was considered. Be cause of the different primary interests which exist for each group its importance should appear in a different light to each. It is generally agreed among teachers of the space arts as well as among practitioners of those arts that cre ative work in those fields calls for a particular kind of thinking which is marked by the importance within it of space.-*- Regardless of what the practical purpose behind 1 Denman W. Ross, On Drawing and Painting (New York: Houghton Nifflin, 1919); also Arthur W. Dow, Composition (New York: Doubleday, 1916); and Albert C. Barnes, The Art in Painting (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 19 28). 3 such creative activity might be or of what the nature of its inner ideas, it must take the character of space before it can exist objectively. This it can hardly do except as the mental activity itself is able somehow to assume that char acter. All ideas which are to find representation in spe cial materials must develop themselves as special entities. One of the most important'problems, therefore, which confronts the student of art, whether he intends to create or simply to appreciate and understand, is that of develop ing the ability and possibly the habit of thinking specially. The approach to this problem must be made in two ways. The student may practice such thinking by the manipulation of concrete material, where an insight into its physical pro perties alone necessarily implies an awareness of space. Here, by using material, by making things out of it, he will of course gain such experience because of the spacial nature of that material and because of the fact that to make a thing out of it means, among other things, to deal with spacial proportions. But he may approach the problem also through the study of the proportions of natural objects and objects of art and through the direct perception of those proportions. It appears, then, that the present study, in calling attention to the space qualities of art objects, should be of value to students of art. In doing this it should focus attention upon what seems to be the main problem in the 4 study of art and possibly contribute both toward a better understanding of it and a more intelligent approach to it. It should be noted that the primary problem of art students is different from that of students in other fields in an important and fundamental way. This difference lies within the different use or function of perception for these groups. On the one hand, perception is to be thought of as providing the data for knowledge. stood as a means to an end. Here it must be under And the results of perception, when recorded in the form of scientific knowledge, are made available to students whose aim is the acquisition and dis covery of knowledge. This is a way of saying that the way knowledge is acquired is of no importance for one type of student, so long as that knowledge is dependable. tion here has no value as an end in itself. art student such is not at all the case. Percep But with the For him perception itself, the way experience is, takes a position of impor tance before everything else. His problem is to develop per ception in the direction of its own completeness and perfec- . tion rather than in the direction of knowledge. Within this fact lies the essential difference between the problem of the art student and that of all other students. However, the characteristic form which perception takes in a culture, as it is revealed in works of art, should be considered an important part of our knowledge of that culture. To the extent that it can be analyzed and re corded in symbols, it may be made available as scientific knowledge. One of the aspects of the history of art has to do with the evolution of form as it reveals fundamental changes in the perceptual attitudes of a culture. It is, therefore, not too extravagant to suggest that this type of study might make a slight contribution to the general knowl edge of Pre-Columbian Mexican cultures and to the knowledge of the art of those cultures in particular. Such knowledge is of especial value to students of the history of art. This study may have one other value for art students and for those with an interest in art, which depends rather upon the existence of a deep popular prejudice than upon any characteristic of its own. That value would lie within the extent to which it might show that the quality of the art of Pre-Columbian Mexico is as truly aesthetic or artistic as the quality of the art of any other civilization or culture. That this fact is not popularly accepted or fully realized even by some anthropologists must be attributed to the aca demic importance assigned to Creek art and its derivatives and to the natural inclination toward judicial criticism. There have been so many so-called authorities who have judged Creek and Renaissance art and set them up as standards in excellence and "legitimate" meaning. These judgments have become established so firmly that the collected works of cultures which lie outside or on the fringe of Greek influence are to be found today not so much in the art museums, where they are usually avoided, as in the museums of archaeology and anthropology. This does not apply so much to the works of the great Oriental cul tures, but it should be remembered that the Greek contribu tion to them is far from negligible. It does apply, however, to those cultures loosely classified as primitive. In recent years certain African sculpture has received attention for its aesthetic qualities, but this has remained limited to the sophisticated few. All this indicates that the aesthetic qualities of the primitive arts have been comparatively ne glected and that the great aesthetic heritage comprised in the works of the Indian cultures of Mexico and Central Amer ica has not yet become a factor in present-day expression. It is to be hoped that studies of the works of these cul tures as art forms will bring about a wider appreciation of their expressiveness and will make the fact still more clear that the degree of the aesthetic achievement of a people can not be measured in terms of its material or scientific achievement. It is not scientific to apply the aesthetic standards based on the art of one civilization to the art of another. This is unfortunately true because of the fact that the na ture which such standards assume is fundamentally inappli 7 cable to the art of any civilization whatsoever. Where standards are established they are useful--mechanically and quantitatively--for replacing actual experience; and, espe cially in so far as art works are concerned, they serve to inhibit their direct perception. The meaning of art is qualitative, whereas, standards are applicable only to quantitative measure. That which can be brought equally to the arts of all cultures is not a set of standards which can replace immediate experience, but rather an attitude which fosters such experience. The standards which may apply are those of experience rather than those of form. The lat ter are dominated by recollection; the former, by perception. In every case art works must be referred directly to experi ence. Only when this view is taken and such an approach is accepted can there be the possibility of an arrival at some knowledge of the position which the art of the Indian cul tures holds among those arts of other civilizations and ages. The present study attempts to make such an approach. For the archaeologist the classification of excavated materials is a very important part of his work. After hav ing taken exact notes regarding the positions of his funds and the conditions surrounding them, it is necessary that such classification be made in order that those objects be longing characteristically to the different positions can be determined. As a result of accurate classification, conclu- 8 sions can be reached regarding the relationship of different sites to each other as well as of different cultures which may have occupied the same site. The archaeologist depends primarily for such classi fication upon the physical characteristics of his materials, upon differences in the use of materials, that is, upon dif ferences in technique; and, where he makes use of the form of those materials, he notes differences in the representa tion of well established concepts and symbols. He will ob serve very closely, for example, the different forms of ear plugs shown in the ears of figurines; the different types of headdress worn; whether the noses are hooked or straight, the eyes elongated or round; whether such objects are natur alistic, conventional, or impressionistic. This is all as it should be for it deals with material which is highly ob jective and easily verified. But such classification might well extend into the field of art form where it would then deal with characteristics of abstract design. Where that design is limited to represent the common mode of perception of a culture, such classification might prove of great value in archaeological work, especially in suggesting leads for further investigation.2 ^ Edwin Swift Balch and Eugenia M. Balch, Art and Man (Philadelohia: Allen, Lane and Scott, 1918), d d . 16-17, and 138. 9 Qualitative classification of this sort would have to be accomplished by those experienced in the study of art form, whose interest in such objects was primarily artistic rather than archaeological; that is, by trained students of art serving in that specialized capacity. This point is here suggested as bearing upon the possible importance of the present type of study. The science of anthropology is so broad in scope as to include the subject of art form or design. The signifi cance of art for this science, however, was slow in being realized but in recent years it has been receiving more and more attention. It is not improbable that the fundamental, abstract design of art will claim an increasing amount of this attention. Balch^ points out a general fact which it is the aim of this present study to investigate in more detail. He speaks of the peculiar preference of certain races for a curvilinear art and others for a rectilinear art. This ob servation may be pregnant with cultural significance and therefore serve as an illustration of the importance of this type of study for anthropology. These preferences, which he observes are thought of here not so much as mere preferences as necessities revealing basic mental traits of ethnic Balch and Balch, loc. cit. 10 groups. In discussing the possible importance of this study, its main weakness should be noted. It is one which is basic to the nature of the approach, but it is not so great as to discourage all such effort where profitable results are un deniably to be had. This weakness, which may be stated as the difficulty of interpreting qualities, besets all attempts at criticism of any sort. But here the intention was to simplify the critical problem to an extreme point. And yet, in setting aside all interest in subject matter, as such, and stripping away as far as possible all meanings based in common recog nition, it must be admitted that the problem became, if stream-lined in simplicity, highly elusive as well. Lines do "go” in certain directions, however, and if given complete freedom to assert themselves they will be found to go with varying degrees of force and speed. And their directions, when followed through, will be seen to fall easily into those of others, defining space in various ways. Finally, it must be stressed that, to become valid, the conclusions of this study should be verified through similar studies carried out by students with experience in design. 11 II. ORGANIZATION OF THESIS Because of the fact that the meanings of the terms used in this study imply the theoretical basis upon which any conclusions must depend, all of Chapter Two is devoted to the definition and discussion of those terms. The aim of that chapter was to indicate broadly the approach taken in this investigation and at the same time to establish its validity. No attempt was made to put forward any complete aesthetic theory. Chapter Three deals entirely with a review of the most valuable part of that literature pertaining to the prob lem of this paper. headings. This material is presented under several First, a very few of the works on the general his tory of the different cultures are mentioned. This is fol lowed by a digest of archaeological works, which describe the materials of this study and the conditions under which they were found. Throughout this discussion a general history of the cultures is presented along with the theories and the opinions of the several authors. Chapter Three has been arranged to follow those chap ters which take up the main problem of the thesis. This main problem was divided into Chapter Four, the Figurines of the Zapotecan Culture; Chapter Five, The Figurines of the Maya Culture; Chapter Six, The Figurines of Western Mexico; 12 Chapter Seven, The Figurines of Eastern Mexico; Chapter Eight, The Figurines from the Valley of Mexico. Chapter Nine contains a presentation of the summary of findings and certain conclusions. This chapter is fol lowed by a bibliography. The nature of this study called for a great many an alytical illustrations. These are placed as plates at the end of each chapter, with the exception of a few figures that are to be found within the text at points most conven ient to the problems discussed. CHAPTER II DEFINITION AND DISCUSSION OF TERMS USED It is perhaps irapossible to study the design or form of such an art as sculpture without the aid of certain preestablished principles. These principles, although of neces sity theoretical due to the subjective import of design, should,nevertheless, be soundly based in the experiences of artists and the students of aesthetics. They should be philosophically and psychologically as sound as possible; basic enough in their nature to be applicable to sculpture of all times and places; and, above all, clearly defined. In no other field does there exist more difference of opinion than in that where the values of art are dealt. Much of this probably comes from the fact that the principle by which art is commonly understood are neither basic nor clearly grasped. Because of these considerations, it has been felt important to set forth briefly, but as clearly as possible, the accepted meaning of those terms which occur in the course of this study; first, in a general sense, then in a more specific manner. I. Design. GENERAL MEANING OF TERMS This term is here accepted in its most ab stract and its most objective meaning. It is objective in 14 that it is assumed to b e a property of the material object of art. It is abstract in that the meaning of that property does not depend upon reference to anything outside, but rests wholly upon relationships belonging solely to the material object of art. The meaning to which the term "design” is here re stricted is, nevertheless, to be thought of as representing, in each art object, a certain intention on the part of a particular individual. It is to be thought of as having ex isted at one time in the mind of that individual as an idea. This intentional character of design is mentioned at this time for the reason that it appears here as a possible con tradiction to that abstract nature above assigned to it. If design is abstract, depending for its meaning solely upon certain relationships belonging to the object, then what of representation where reference is made to things outside? Is such representation not to be thought of as belonging to the artist’s idea? It is not possible to affirm that, in the case sculpture, the factor of representation was uninten tional . In view of this question design is here accepted as meaning the way representation is achieved. And it may be noted that such meaning, while strictly intentional, re mains essentially abstract and objective. Representation in itself is a broad term. In the 15 space arts it is popularly thought of as restricted to the outward appearances of things. But actually, in those arts, its reference is much broader, often comprehending ideas and beliefs which exist, culturally and individually, as abstrac tions. It is, therefore, seen to be quite true that repre sentation is always present in art. Arid since design is simply the way it is achieved, it nay be concluded that de sign itself is always present in art. This seemingly obvious observation is important for the reason that so often a kind of representation commonly called naturalism is allowed to discourage the discovery of its accompanying design. The fact is that the element of design is as much present in socalled naturalistic art as it is in what is called conven tionalized art. ter is the same. And, furthermore, in both cases its charac It is in the first place objective, being a property of the object of art; and, in the second place ab stract, needing to be referred to nothing outside of that object. To summarize then, it should be stated that the mean ing of the term design is accepted in this study (1) to be abstract, (2) to be objective, (5) to be the way representa tion is achieved, and (4) to be present in all art whether naturalistic or conventional. Form. For the purpose of this study it is desirable 16 to recognize in the term form two kinds of meaning. One of these will be designated art-form; the other, material-form. Both may be used in reference to the object of art, but with different import. Material form. All concrete objects have their ma terial form, their particular manner of extension. less of their significance, this is so. at the same time, material objects. Regard Objects of art are, They may have their pe culiar significance, but they also have their mass. By this term, then, is meant simply that which is known about an ob ject when it is stripped of all significance that depends upon expression. Art form. By art form is meant those relationships which underlie representation but which remain abstract. This is in effect the same definition given to the term de sign, but in this study the latter term is to be thought of as being more general than the term art form. In order to make its meaning clear, it will be examined in its relation to the term "material form" and also to the term "significance." One of the important and basic characteristics of art form is its embodiment of that relationship which represents the artist's idea. This is a way of saying that art form is 17 Itself a relationship which at some time existed in the mind of an artist. To understand it clearly the following ques tion should be answered. How can a relationship exist at one time in the mind of an individual and at another time in concrete material? The answer to this question should provide at the same time an insight into the relation between the material form of an art object and its art form. The meaning of the material form of an art object, be ing stripped of all significance which depends upon expres sion, is not colored or affected by the meaning of the object’s art form since the latter expresses the artist’s idea. Tak ing a piece of sculpture as an example, it is possible to think of it as a block of stone, extending itself in space in a certain manner without expressive significance; or, on the other hand, as extending itself in space so as to achieve representation. Art form then is accepted as meaning the way an object extends itself in space so as to achieve represen tation of the artist’s idea. From the above it is seen that art form is a spacerelationship, but further than that it is one which achieves representation of an artist’s idea. an answer to the question: From this is provided "How can a relationship exist at one time in the mind of an individual and at another time in concrete material?" ly. It can exist in the mind imaginative Representation then begins as an image of a space- 18 relationship, existing in the mind of the artist, and it finds its way as a space-relationship to exist somehow in concrete material. The main difference noted between the meaning of the term material form and that of the term art form was in the matter of the representation of an idea. Both kinds of form are seen to involve a manner of extension in space. But one is extended so as to represent an idea while the other’s ex tension is determined solely by the nature of the material itself. Aside from the difference of meaning resting upon significance, these two terms imply a difference of meaning which rests upon a difference in the manner of extension. The relationship existing between art form and material form as the two terms are here accepted may be stated as fol lows : 1. Art form has significance while material form has 2. Both art form and material form have extension. 3. The extension of art form is different from that none. of material form. 4. This difference in extension accounts for the fact that art form represents an idea while material form does not. These four statements will be discussed briefly in turn. The significance of art form rests, as discussed above, 19 upon the fact that it represents an idea. This it does with in its inner-relationships for which reason it is called ab stract. The absence of significance in material form was accepted as a condition of its meaning in this study. Art form was seen above to heve that manner of exten sion in space by which representation is achieved, while the extension of material form was seen to be determined by the nature of the very material itself. The third statement that the extension of art form is different from that of material form needs some elabora tion. In the first place it should be noted that the ma terial form of an object comprehends all those points within that object’s extent. It is important to note further that these points belong to all the space relationships possible within the object. Now it has been seen that an idea may be represented within concrete material as a space relationship. And from this it may be concluded that material form, in holding all possible space relationships holds the possibil ity of the representation of as many ideas. But, while hold ing the possibility of them, all, it can possess the actual significance of none. Furthermore, it may be seen that the essential characteristic of the extension of art form is that it is determined by and limited to one space relationship only; namely, the one which represents an idea. Such a rela tionship may conceivably involve all or any number of the 20 points comprised by the extension of the material form. But whatever the number involved, those points must present but one relationship and so represent but one idea. To summarize, then, it may be said that material form comprehends all the points within an object's extent togeth er with all their possible relationships, while art form comprehends all or any number of those points with but one of their possible relationships. The fourth statement above affirms that the differ ence in the manner of extension accounts for the fact that art form represents an idea while material form does not. This difference was seen to be that between one space rela tionship and all possible space relationships. Were it pointed out that certain natural forms might conceivably be so extended as to present one particular space relationship before all others, might it not be said that in so doing an idea is represented to the mind of the observer, to be inferred that, because such an and is it object was not fash ioned by the hand of man, its dominant space relationship has not before existed in the mind of man? The point to be made here is that the ideas discovered in the forms of na ture exist in the same way as those discovered in objects of art and that they differ not in essence but rather in terms of communication only. It is necessary that some of the points comprising 21 the art form of an object belong at the same time to the ex tension of the material form of that object. But it is not necessary that ail the points of the art form belong to the material form as well. An artist uses a piece of stone for the purpose of representing his idea. As has been seen, his idea can be understood as a space relationship. The artist uses the points, or some of the points, within the extent of the stone in order to establish that relationship which re presents his idea. So it is seen that some of the points comprising the material form of the stone are necessarily a part of the art form of the stone. But it is possible that the space relationship which represents the artist!s idea is such that points outside the stone may be involved as well. These may trace movements in the surroundiirg space. They must be thought of as belonging to the art form but as not belonging to the material form of the object. But while not belonging to the material form of the object they must be seen to depend upon it for their existence. Felt-relationship. The terms discussed so far have had reference to conditions within concrete material. They have been regarded as having objective meaning only. It is necessary, however, in exploring the values of art objects to recognize in them certain subjective truth also and to discover connections between that truth and the meaning 22 which is accepted as objective. This necessity becomes apparent the moment an art object is regarded as an impres sion. Sculpture, for instance, is a condition of extension in concrete material, but it may also be thought of as a combination of visual and tactile stimuli.1 The term,Tfelt-relationship" is accepted here as meaning the way art form exists in the mind. It has been seen that a space relationship can exist within concrete material and also within the mind of an individual. When it exists within concrete material it is called art form; when it exists in the mind it shall be called a felt rela tionship . As such it is more than a sensation, however, for the reason that a sensation is defined as the conscious response to the stimulation of a sense organ or nerve receptor and not as a relationship.2 It is enough, for the purpose of this study, to recognize that space relationships outside the mind can be experienced within the mind as images, and that it is, therefore, reasonable to affirm that such relationships do, in a sense, exist there. ^ A. M. Rindge, Sculpture (New York: Payson and Clark, Ltd., 1929), pp. 1-13. 2 Harold Newton Lee, Perception and Aesthetic Value (New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 19 38), pp. 24-26. 23 Expression. In affirming that the art form of a material object can exist as a felt relationship within the mind, it must not be understood that such a relationship ex ists there in all purity and sundered from all other kinds of experience. lust as in concrete material it has been seen that art form exists among any number of possible space relationships, making use of points held in common with material form; so in the mind a felt relationship must have its existence among the traces of all those past experiences which are known as associations.3 And just as in concrete material a space relationship or art form, upon analysis, re solves itself into a dominant tendency; so in the mind a felt relationship must appear as a tendency within experience. This dominant tendency, combined with the whole experience, is then what is known as expression. The capacity for expression is here accepted in the subjective sense of existing in the mind. Its importance, however, lies in the fact that it is exactly realized in con crete material, where such material is said to be expressive or to have expressiveness. It is important to understand that art form, as a dominant tendency in material, is different from the expres siveness of that material which may be understood as 3 George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896 ), pp. 193-5. 24 combining the influence of other tendencies with it. This is especially true if it is seen that those particular ten dencies Vv’hich exert such influence are dependent upon as sociations formed by past experiences. To discover the es sential characteristics of the art of any period requires that the dominant tendency within expressiveness be brought to light since associations themselves may belong not to the period in which the art was produced, but rather to the per iod in which it is examined. This dominant tendency within expressiveness is seen to be a space relationship to the art form. II. SPECIFIC MEANING OF TERMS The purpose of the above discussion was to establish the general meaning of the terms used in this study and to indicate their relationship one to the other. The following discussion will aim to examine that meaning more closely in order to establish it with more clarity as well as to indi cate more fully the value of such an approach to the study of art objects. Design. Because of the fact that this term has here been accepted as being very general and as embracing the meaning of the term art form, it will not be examined fur ther . 25 Material form. This terra was thought of first of all as having the meaning of objects when they are stripped of all that significance which depends upon expression. The psychologist might hold that such "purified” meaning cannot exist, but since it is doubtful if anything exists in pur ity; and since such meaning does exist decidedly in a com parative way, it is sufficiently real for this study. When an object is so stripped of this kind of signifi cance it is then seen as existing because of a certain manner of extension. This manner of extension which it possesses may be thought of as taking care both of its extent in space and its common physical properties, its surface texture, its volume, its hardness, and so on. Furthermore, it should be noted that this same extension may be understood as compris ing all those points within the concrete material as well as all their possible space relationships, and that these pos sible relationships are determined and limited solely by the nature of the concrete material itself. The mind, can entertain but one space relationship at a time; or, if more, then they must be brought by it into a larger relationship capable of comprising them all. It is for this reason that material form cannot be understood as embodying or representing an idea. No one relationship em erges from all those possible with sufficient force to be sustained as a felt relationship or a represented idea in 26 the mind. The important point to observe in all this is that in this concept of material form all the possible space re lationships which it possesses are isolated from the world of ideas. This is true either because of the fact that these relationships cannot come forward singly with sufficient force or that no larger relationship appears to embrace them all. Art form. Art form is to be distinguished then from material form first of all by the fact that it has access to the world of ideas. Being one space relationship, a sus tained tendency among many, it is capable of representation in the mind as a felt relationship, a sustained tendency within experience. The importance of this concept of art form cannot be overestimated for in it is implied the notion that art's essential significance lies within its special meaning, its spacial order. And by the dominating character of the space relationship of art form, its commanding posi tion among the possible relationships of material form, is revealed the logic of the assumption that the art works of man speak an intelligible language. It remains to examine further into the character of art form, but since it is accepted as being a space rela tionship by which representation is achieved and one capable 27 of existing either in the mind or in concrete material, it is enough to investigate the nature of that relationship itself. And whether it is examined while it exists within the mind as a felt relationship or in concrete material should make no difference so far as the results are con cerned . Space relationship. Art form was defined as a space relationship in concrete material which at one time existed in the mind of an artist. Subsequently, it was seen that wherever one space relationship exists as dominant among all the possible ones belonging to material form it exists as art form and, therefore, represents an idea. This means that any kind of space relationship may exist as art form so long as it sustains its essential character among all the possible ones of material form. Wherever a space relation ship is discovered in concrete material, then, regardless of the nature of its inner order, there is representation. And from this it appears to follow that superiority in art is to be determined only by the force and completeness of the idea as expressed. This force and completeness will be found to exist within the art form. If the condition of that space relationship which represents an idea is solely that it stand apart from and sustain its character among all the possible ones of material form, that it exist as the dominant tendency within the ex tension of concrete material, then how is it that this con dition can be fulfilled? The answer to this question should reveal the basic principles of art form. The condition of standing apart, of sustaining an in dividual character among the many implies the concept of unity.^ This concept is implied as well in the term rela tionship. It may be said, therefore, that the very first condition of art form is unity. But this unity must be of such force that it assumes a commanding position and over rides the tendencies of all the other possible relationships to assume character of their own. The unity of art form, then, depending entirely upon the order of the space rela tionship which achieves it, implies that both force and move ment exist within that relationship. But further than that, the term unity implies a unity of something, just as the term relationship itself implies that something is related. At this point it may be valuable to use an example. A primitive man has the idea of an animal to represent. Ke does not have the animal to represent for that would be im possible. All that he can possibly have is his idea of it and it is this which he wishes to represent, pose he chooses a block of stone. 4 lor this pur Ke imagines the animal, Elizabeth Kemper Adams, The Aesthetic Experience: Its Meaning In a Functional Psychology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1907), pp. 86-89. 29 and his image has the character of space. also has such character. The block of stone His problem,then, is to so change the extension of the stone that his idea will become the dom inating space relationship among all the other possible space relationships within the stone. Before this process could ever begin, however, the artist would have to acquire his idea of the animal. This he might do through visual contact with the material form of the animal. And his problem of forming that idea would be the same in its nature as the problem of representing it, once formed, in stone. It would be necessary that he, in a manner, gain mastery over material form in both cases. In the first case, he would have to force one particular space relationship to stand apart from all the others within the material form of the animal and to dominate all the others. In this way because of the fact that this relationship w7ould exist for himself within his own mind as his idea, he would gain mastery over the material form of the animal. In the second case, in representing his idea, he would again find it necessary to force that space relationship corresponding to it to stand apart as the dominating tendency within the extension of the stone. And thus would he gain mastery over the material form of the stone. It is obvious from this that man’s ideas are formed in essentially the same way that they are expressed, and 30 that where expression is thought of as an act, its character is determined by one aim, which is that of gaining mastery over material form.6 To use the above example again, the primitive artist is in the act of forming his idea of an animal with whose material form he makes visual contact,6 He chooses a point within the extent of that material form in much the same way that a surveyor would choose one, and he establishes direc tions through that material whose value he may grasp through comparison and contrast with other directions. Thus does he build a structure within the material form of the animal whose points and directions are related because of their similarity and difference in extent and position. And this structure is determined and limited precisely by the artist's necessary conviction that his idea has gained adequate con trol over the material form. What it means then to gain control over material, over the world of things and forces, to bring the material world into the realm of ideas, can be found within this structure, which eventually finds its way into the stone. This is to say that within art form may be found the way or method by R John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York: I/Iinton, Balch and Company, 1934) , Ch. IV. Harold Newton Lee, ojo. cit., pp. 91-92. 31 which each artist, each culture, gains mastery over its material environment. Art form is the way the mind works on material; it is objectified in that material in such a way as to become its dominant tendency and, therefore, find natural communication with all minds capable of receptive attitudes. Thus has the attempt been made to indicate in a gen eral way how the space relationship underlying art form and representing an idea comes about and what its significance is within this study; how it is a structure having such char acter as to afford an insight into the extent and nature of the grasp which the human mind has upon the material world. It remains now to investigate some of the general character istics of such structures in terms of their inner arrange ment . In stating that the primary condition of art form was unity it was pointed out that within that unity there should exist such force as to allow it to assume a commanding posi tion over the tendencies of all other possible relationships within the object of art. A further characteristic then of the space relationship of art form is that it exerts force. And regardless of where the origin of that force might be placed the fact of its existence is most important. Art form is found, logically, to have such force and it is ex perienced as having it. 32 One approach, to the problem of the classification of the types of art form is by way of the action or organiza tion of the forces within it. Since such forces are repre sented within the felt relationship of that experience, which has here been termed expression, such classification may be seen to be both possible and valid. The possibility of this approach seems implied further in the writings on the theo ries of fTinnere Nachahmung" and "Einfilhlung" by the Germans Karl Groos and Theodor Lipps, as well as in the works of the art critics, Vernon Lee and Bernhard Berenson. It is not a new view and the general position has been accepted by many of the older writers on aesthetics.7 The dominant tendency among all the possible space relationships of material form then is an organization of forces which is directed toward a unity that shall contri bute to the expressive meaning the material and represent an idea. These forces act in space thus taking part in direc tion and movement and giving ideational reality to space. For the mind space, wherein no forces are alive, is unreal. There appear to be two basic and comprehensive types of art form which are marked by the character of the action of forces within each. These may best be termed centrifugal and centripetal types for the reason that the general effect 7 Elizabeth Kemper Adams, o£. cit., pp. 82-83. 55 of one is a quality of expansion, of outward development; while the other is marked by forces which tend to contract; and, in a way, to isolate the object from the surrounding space. Centripetal form. This term is meant to apply to that general type of art form or design the carts of which are so arranged as to create the effect of the action of forces to ward the center. Such space arrangement lends to an object of art a quality of concentration and potential power which cause it to assume a position of isolation from the surround ing space. Its expressiveness will be found, therefore, to lie wholly within the extent of the concrete material itself; and, because of this fact, especially in the case of such an art as sculpture, the quality of volume will appear of primary importance. Such design creates an effect which might be thought of popularly as form, in the sense in which one may speak of the "form” of an object. It will be found further that no changes of direction over the surfaces of such an object will be such that an observer’s attention is carried forward and outward beyond the extent of the material, unless a means for re-entry is immediately provided. All lines, all planes, establish dir ections the tendency of which is to contribute to this gen eral effect. 34 The range of variation within such a general scheme is possibly without limit and it is to be understood clearly that where such an arrangement exists it does so as a gen eral tendency within the object. There are examples of sculpture, for instance, the directions of whose surfaces change with such uniformity and lack of accent as to give them the effect of blending or melting into space, whereas, because of the concentric nature of those curves the oppo site effect might be expected. If it is understood that such character as is here discussed has to do with the art form of an object rather than with its material form and that the art form is that relationship which is capable of representation within the mind as a felt relationship, such examples will not present themselves as incongruities. thenon is perhaps a case in point. one of form. The Athenian Par Its general effect is It appears to have that character of standing apart in space and of being complete within itself. And yet, because of its obvious angularity, where planes are made to intersect, it might be expected that the observer’s attention would tend to be carried outside of the material structure at these points of intersection with such force as to destroy that very centripetal effect. This is not the case, however. Other factors exist to dominate such a tendency with the re sulting expressiveness of the building. Such centripetal form might well be regarded as more 35 concrete and less abstract. This form, affirming first of all the reality of material, has an order which tends to confine itself wholly within that material and to shrink from the abstraction of pure space. It may well signify a mental point of view which is fundamentally materialistic. Centrifugal form. This is the term here applied to that general type of art form whose character is directly opposed -to what was called centripetal form. It is marked by an effect of outward expansion, or development from the center, and unlike the effect of centripetal form its ten dency is to merge into the surrounding space rather than to contract and isolate itself from it. Its power appears to be actual and acting rather than potential and because of this fact such form is marked by a kind of unrest. Its unity embraces points within the concrete material, but points outside of that material are as much a part of it. It affirms the reality of space rather than the reality of material, which is to say that it appears not so much to deny the reality of material as to make of it a part of a comprehensive order which embraces both. Objects themselves within such form are seen to be no more than places where forces concentrate or become congested in their never ceas ing action in space. This is clearly apparent where such form is found in the art of painting, for here the artist’s 36 idea usually involves the representation of the images of things and so their treatment may be noted. But it is no less true in sculpture where the representation of the artist’s idea of an object shows it to exist simply as an accent in space. As in centripetal form so here also is there room for limitless variety of sub-types, which range from the restless and intricate arabesque of Mohammedan art to the exquisite Buddhas of Siam. This tendency is apparent in all true Gothic art as well. The two types of art form above mentioned are so gen eral that they are capable of comprehending all other ten dencies which might be discovered within the expressiveness of objects of art. There are, however, two other terms hav ing to do with qualities which offer another means of gen eral classification in design. There is that class of sculp ture whose general effect is geometric and static; and, on the other hand, there is the class whose character appears to depend rather upon a unity of rhythmic relationships which impart to it a dynamic and organic effect. This is not to imply, however, either that a geometric order is never present in dynamic design or that rhythmic re lationships do not exist in designs whose general effect is static. As a matter of fact, the quality of rhythm will be found wherever form is expressive and it will always be present and acting toward a unity which embraces a geometric relationship as well. Whether the one or the other dominates, however, may determine whether the effect is static or dynam ic. And it should be noted further that one of these quali ties may exist either in that art form which confines itself to the concrete material or in that which involves points both outside and inside that material. There are then both static and dynamic types of centripetal form just as these two types are found also in centrifugal form. The art medium. In discussing the term "material form” it was pointed out that its determining factor was its possession of all the possible space relationships between those points existing within the extent of the concrete ma terial. And it was suggested that because of the very fact that no one of those relationships assumed a sufficiently dominant position, such form embodied no idea and could not be represented within the mind. The distinction between ma terial form and art form was made in order to indicate the essential difference between those forms which appear to be expressive and those which do not, and this distinction was not thought of as having other than a comparative value. Such a property as "hardness," for instance, when found within material is surely experienced as an idea. And such physical properties are presented by all concrete materials. 38 It should be stated further that such an idea as that of "hardness” is essentially no different from any other idea which may be represented within concrete material. But while this may all be true regarding it, there is, nevertheless, one distinguishing fact to be noted. Those above mentioned properties, which are capable of represen tation within the mind as ideas are strangely known to be long to that concrete material and to have originated within it. Regardless of what its total extent may be, furthermore, they remain unchanged. It is the concrete material, as possessing such inherent and permanent properties, which is here thought of as the art medium. The sculptor then chooses as a medium a material hav ing certain very knowable properties. And into such a medium it is his intention to incorporate his idea in such a way that it will become the dominant relationship among many possible ones within the extent of the material. Since it was seen, moreover, that an idea may exist in the mind as a space relationship, it is conceivable that it may even possess those properties of hardness, and so forth, which are common to the art medium. But it is as easy to conceive of an idea which, although purely spacial, does not involve such proper ties. It is perhaps for this reason that a certain kind of sculpture appears not only to affirm the limited extent of material but also certain of its characteristic physical 39 properties. Egyptian gods carved in granite are good ex- amoles. The other kind of sculpture, as before stated, af firms the abstraction of space and therefore tends to cause both the extent and the properties of material substance to become subordinate to that idea. Such sculpture transcends the properties of the medium and arrives at an expressive ness marked by the abstract nature of the space idea. But it must be clear that in either case any lack of respect for the properties of the medium would weaken the force of the idea within it O for the precise reason that the medium exists as such and that it could not exist apart from its properties. Any violation of those properties would in evitably draw attention to itself and reveal a conflict be tween the medium and the space idea. There is one final point which should be discussed in order to clarify the approach and general point of view assumed in this study of Pre-Columbian Mexican forms in cer amic sculpture. That point has to do with the expressiveness of the minor arts within a culture, the relation of that ex pressiveness to the major arts, and it bears upon the ques tion of the place of the so-called aesthetic experience in the discovery and classification of art form. 8 A. M. Rmdge, op . cit., pp. 19-26. 40 A profound and exhaustive study of the arts of any culture is not necessary for a realization of the fact that all the objects made by it or within it are marked somehow by a common order. Even a culture such as that of ancient Egypt, which extends itself over so long a period and in which such a bewildering variety of forms may be found, will reveal this truth. The very common objects of utility there will be found to possess in their shape something which stamps them as kin to the temples and the images of the Pharoahs and Gods. It may be granted that such a considera tion as practical purpose is the determining factor in the form of an object of utility; whereas, in a work of art such as sculpture, the form is determined by the need to express an inner order divorced from all practical considerations. But the fact persists that in both cases the form of the manufactured objects exists at some time within the mind of the maker as a unified space relationship. And whether it was called forth in order that the maker might have an im plement for further work or an image of his God seems of no great importance. What is important is that the artist formed an idea within his mind and expressed that idea by gaining a mastery over concrete material outside his mind. There is no reason to expect that the way of achieving such mastery in the one case should differ essentially from that in the other. 41 It must be concluded therefore that a type of design, in this basic and abstract sense of the word, is character istic of each civilization or culture; that it represents the way the mind within that culture works in gaining mas tery over the material world; and that it may be found to exist essentially the same in the minor arts as in the major arts of a culture. It has not been felt necessary for the purpose of establishing the viewpoint of this study to dwell upon the aesthetic experience. That experience is here regarded as representing so natural and so simple an attitude that it is taken for granted. To perceive what has here been referred to as the dominant tendency within concrete material is no doubt to imply the proper attitude for it; but, insofar as the aesthetic experience admits into itself those subjective ingredients based somehow within associations, it fails to serve as the final measuring stick by which this study pro poses to classify forms. The problem here was to discover within the total expressiveness of form its kernel, which is to say, its dominant tendency in the direction of space or der. And although this may involve the experience called aesthetic, it also involves a kind of thinking where the im mediacy of that experience is the basic material of thought. CHAPTER III ANALYSIS OF RELATED LITERATURE Of the works consulted In the course of this study only those which proved of most value will be summarized here. Some of the most valuable aids have been collections of photographic material in book form and actual examples of ceramic sculpture. These will be briefly listed here and discussed in more detail in the chapters that follow. Literature on the general hi story of Pre-Columbian Ilexican cultures. The history of the Indian cultures of Mexico is based upon a great variety of materials all of which calls for unusually careful study and interpretation. There exist only a few native documents, written both be fore and after the conquest, and some of these deal solely with calendrical and religious matters, recorded in hiero glyphics w/ith pictorial illustrations which make their com plete meaning difficult to fathom. The three known such Maya books are (l) The Dresden Codex, now in the Public Li brary of Dresden, Germany; (2) The Perez, in the National Library of Paris; (3) The Tro-Cortesiano, a manuscript which has been divided into several parts all of which are today in Spain. Two other important Maya works exist both of which were written after the conquest in the native language but 43 with Spanish script. These are (1) the books of Chilam Baalam, which relate a fragmentary, legendary history of the Maya, adding little to the dependable history of those peo ple; and (2) The Popul Vuh, a book of Maya-Q.uiche1 legendary and mythic history in the Q,uicheT language. The Aztecs also left records of their legendary history in the form of pic ture writing. In the Boturini Codex, are depicted the wan derings of this tribe between their legendary home in the "land of the seven caves” in the far north and their city of Tenochtitlan in the Valley of Mexico. Numerous documents exist which were written by the Spanish priests and. conquerors. These generally refute one another and are marked by extreme imaginative quality and prejudice. The most interesting record of the conquest it self is that of the old Spanish soldier Bermal Diaz del Castillo who has left a fascinating and important story of the campaigns of Cortez. The other sources for historical works are the materi al remains of the people. It has been the work of archaeolo gists to investigate these and to make their story available to the historian. Hewett1 has compiled a work dealing with the ancient 1 Edgar Lee Hewett, Ancient Life in Mexico and. Central America (New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1936"] 44 life of Mexico and Central America which gives an excellent general picture of the chief aboriginal cultures as well as a fine review of the archaeological work upon which that pic ture is based. This book deals with all aspects of those cultures and attempts to point out the direction which the most profitable future research in this field should take; namely, that determined by the acceptance, as the primary aim of such research, of the problem of arriving at a clear knowledge of cultural evolution. p The well known work by Joyce. written in 1914, is a very thorough presentation of the knowledge of Mexican and Maya cultures at that time. Although much has been done since, the general view7 given by this work remains a val uable introduction to the study of any phase of those cul tures. This author gives especial attention to the problem of dating and his conclusions are generally accepted today. Spinden1s^ picture of ancient Mexican and Central Ameri can civilizations is very valuable. In this work is pre sented not only the present state of general knowledge of the specialized cultures but also much material on the "Archaic" cultures. It was from this latter material that the author p Thomas A. Joyce, Mexican Archaeology (London: Philip Lee Warner, 1920) ° Herbert J. Spinden, Ancient Civilizations of Mex ico and Central America (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 192&T"" 45 F la 1 5P IN D E N '5 d is t r ib u t io n of archaic f i g u r i n e s . 46 developed his theory of a unit culture underlying all the civilizations of Middle America* This theory is based mainly upon the similarity of ceramic figurines found below Toltec remains at such sites as Teotihuaoan and Azcapotzaleo in the Valley of Mexico and at other points far distant. It appears to be a very practical supposition, having much evi dence for support. However, the tendency has been to see an increasing amount of local variation within this so-called Archaic horizon, and since 1928 a great deal of material has been brought forward to weaken any such theory. Thompson^ has attempted to give an account of the cul tures of the Valley of Mexico which avoids the detail and technical terms of other general works. He has also made it his aim to stress those aspects not thoroughly covered by Joyce while passing over those which were carefully consider ed by that author. This book, because of its simplification, is a good introduction to the present study. Moreover, it represents certain ceramic figurines.which are typical to the areas considered. Literature on the cultures of the Valley of Mexico. According to G-arnio^the interest in Pre-Toltec remains in 4 J. Eric Thompson, Mexico Before Cortez (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953) 5 Manuel G-amio "Las Excavaciones del Pedregal de San Angel y la Cultura Arcaica del Valle de Mexico," American Anthropologist, n.s. Vol. 22, p. 127, 19 20. 47 Mexico began with Madame Nuttail’s discovery in 1907 of a new type of figurine under the lava flow, known as the Pedregal. Early remains had been discovered as early as 185b by the French Commission and later in 1885 by Ho liness but no attempt had been made at their interpretation. Since then a very great amount of work has been done toward the investigation of those cultures that preceded the specialized civilizations of Mexico, and especially have such efforts been fruitful in the Valley of Mexico itself. Garnio^ began his important and extensive work in 1909 and shortly thereafter had established three distinct cul ture levels at Azcapotzalco. This site was once so impor tant as to rival the Aztec Tenochtitlan. Situated on the shores of lake Texcoco, it was conquered and partly destroyed in 1439. Gamio was able to show here not merely the three distinct culture levels superimposed one above the other but he was also able to indicate geological changes accompanying them which are indicative of great extent in time. At Azca potzalco the Aztecan pottery is found near the surface. William H. Holmes, "Antiquity of Man on the Site of the City of Mexico," Transactions, Anthropological Society of Washington, 1885, vol. 3. 7 Manuel Garnio, "Restos de la Cultura Tepanec," Anales del Museo Nacional de Arqueologia, Historia, Etnologia, Nueva Serie, Tomo Mexico, 1909. 48 V ^ • / I X B O U t w I III AtcAPcnXA&o mm ^ ) C> • COPfLCO F I G . 2 . SOME pRI NCI P A L S I T E S IN V A L L E Y OF M E X I C O . POEBLA, m r n m 49 Toltecan remains occur in midle and lower sections. Under neath these two cultural layers, both of which occur in soil, is found a thick layer of water-bearing gravel mixed with sand. It is throughout this that figurines of the archaic type are scattered. Below this stratum is bed rock. p By 1912 Professor Boas had published his album in which is reproduced a very great number of sherds and figur ines from the early cultures of the Valley of Mexico. These illustrations comprise surface finds and are presented with out any archaeological data. But for the student of the form of archaic figurines the work is most valuable. In 1917 Dr. Gamio^ took up his work at Copilco follow ing reports which had flourished for some time concerning figurines discovered underneath the lava flow of the Pedregal, just south of Mexico City. It was here, some hundreds of feet back from the original front of the lava flow that human remains were found by quarry workers. By means of a series of tunnels these human remains may be seen today, beneath the flow, lying in the positions in which they were buried. Al ongside of them may be seen archaic type figurines which 8 Franz Boas, Album de Colecciones Arqueologicas (Mexico, D. F. Escuela, Internacional de Arqueologia y Etnologia Americanas, 1911-1912) Q Manuel Gamio, "Las Excavaciones del Pedregal de San Angel y la Cultura Arcaica del Valle de Mexico," American Anthropologist, n.s., vol. 22, pp. 127-43, 1920. appeal to serve as funeral offerings. These latter corres pond stylistically to those of the lower culture level at Azcapotzalco. lust across the lava flow from Copilco, on its oppo site edge, at a village called Tlalpam, is the site of Cuicuilco. It is situated about twelve miles southwest of Mex ico City. Here in 1923 and 19 24 Cummings-^ carried out ex tensive excavations around an old pyramidal structure which has been proved to date from the Archaic or Pre-Toltec per iod. Sherds and figurines of the archaic type were dis covered in the course of these excavation. The archaic material, mostly figurines, collected up to this time had shown a certain homogeneity, especially in technique; but there existed a variation in type so obvious as to cause much doubt to develop regarding the validity of Spindenfs "Archaic" theory. Lothrop^^ in his publication of Costa Rica pottery; Garnio-^ in his findings the same year on Byron C. Cummings, "Ruins of Cuicuilco May Revolu tionize Our History of Ancient America," National Geographic Magazine, 44:203-220, 1923; also "Cuicuilco, the Oldest Temple Discovered in North America,” Art and Archaeology, 16:51-58, 1923. S. K. Lothrop, "Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua," Contributions from the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, Vol. 8, New York, 19 26. -1-2 Manuel Garnio, "Cultural Evolution in Guatemala and Its Geographical and Historical Handicaps," Art and Archae ology, vol. 22, no. 6, vol. 23, nos. 1-3, Washington, 19 261927. 51 the Highlands of Guatemala; and Ricketson-1-^ and Amsden of the Carnegie Institution at Uaxactun contributed more to this existing doubt. It was because of the need for more light upon this particular problem that Yaillant^^ began his work for the American Museum of Natural History at Zacatenco in 1928. This site had been discovered by Boas, who had published re productions of figurines taken from there in his Album. It is situated on a hill near Guadalupe Hidalgo, a suburb of Mexico City. At the time when this work began Spinden, as stated above, had grouped all figurines made by hand with fillet ing technique of feature presentation in an "Archaic Culture Horizon." G a m o ,15 as a result of work done at San Juan Teotihuacan, had discovered a "tipo de transicion" between Early Culture figurines and Toltec objects. In the field of 1A pottery ware Kroeber had classified sherds into four dis tinct groups. These he had gathered from a number of sites in the Valley of Mexico. 13 0. G. Richetson Jr., "Report on the Excavations at Naxactun," Carnegie Institution of Washington, Yearbook No. 28, pp. 516-22, 1929. 1^ George C. Vaillant, Excavations at Zacatenco,Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. XXXII, Part I, 1950. 13 Manuel Garnio, La Poblacion del Valle de Teotihuacan, Mexico, Tomo I, 19 22. 13 A. L. Kroeber, "Archaic Culture Horizons in the Val ley of Mexico," University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, volY IV, pp. 575-4178. 52 Vaillant1s explorations at Zacatenco revealed a very great diversity in types of figurines which permitted him to distinguish three distinct periods of occupation by the Early Culture people. Late. These he called Early, Middle, and He was able to conclude that no such thing as one homogeneous culture existed to leave behind these early figurines, but that many different cultural groups must have been present in Middle America. He pointed out, moreover, that these figurines, although generally lacking in quali ties of conventionalization based in ceremonial, were never theless far from primitive. In November, 1929, Vaillant^ at a nearby site called Ticoman. January, 1930. began new excavations Work continued here until The results of these investigations at Tico man are very interesting. As at Zacatenco, so here at Tico man figurines offered the most satisfactory evidence. The variation of figurine type revealed three periods of culture here, but the middle one appeared more clearly as a transitional stage than as one of distinct feature, which was not the case at Zacatenco. The Early period at Ticoman produced figurines of the same type as those produced by the Late period of Zacatenco. Vaillant sees this type here as G-eorge C. Vaillant, "Excavations at Ticoman,” An thropological Papers of The American Museum of Natural History, vol. XXXII, part II, New York, 19 31. 53 very homogeneous and dominant. In the Intermediate period at Ticoman he notices an era of great experiment and change within the figurine plastic, which settles down, in the Late period, into what he calls "a satisfactory and adequate plas tic representation." The entire development over the three periods here is seen as continuous without any interference from outside or intrusion of any sort. The general fact noticed at Zacatenco that the "Archaic Culture Horizon" is marked by extreme diversity rather than by homogeneity is borne out again at Ticoman. Literature on the cultures outside the Valley of Mexico. After Vaillant1s work at Ticoman, it was his aim to investigate the problem of the relationship between the Late period of that culture and the civilization of Teo tihuacan, which presumably succeeded it. His attention was diverted to a site at Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos, outside the Valley of Mexico. Here in the ward of Gual- upita, in a brickyard, excavations were begun in Tsnuary, 1932.18 Vaillant was able to establish three main periods of occupation at this site. I, II, and III. ip These he designated Gualupita By a classification of materials, especially Suzannah B. and George C. Vaillant, "Excavationa at Gualupita," Anthropological Papers of The American Museum of Natural History, vol. XAXV, part I, New York, 1954. 54 ceramic figurines, he was able to show that the Gualupita I period was related to Early and Middle Zacatenco in the Valley of Mexico, and that the types of figurines belonging to this period were widespread in the state of Morelos. Gualupita II figurine types appeared to combine the charac ter of those of Gualupita I with other elements from out side. These were found to be related to Early and Late Ticoman, to certain figurines at Guicuilco and at Azcapotzalco. -ualupita III was shown to correspond to historic times and is believed by Vaillant to have been terminated by the conquering ^ztecs. Numerous objects were found here which must have ar rived by trade with contemporaneous tribes. Especially noteworthy are types of figurines native to Teotihuacan II, which is that period commonly accepted as Toltec. These latter objects were associated with figurines of the Gualu pita II period. As a result of his investigations at Gualu pita Vaillant suggests that the so-called Toltec period, which is popularly thought of as a widespread and unified culture, was actually marked by as much complexity and local variation as the periods which preceded it and followed it. He, therefore, prefers to speak of the site at San Juan Teotihuacan, not as Toltec, but simply as "Teotihuacan." The archaeological work carried out at San Juan Teotihuacan has been very comprehensive. This site, situated 55 about twenty-five miles from Mexico City is actually in the northeast part of the Valley of Mexico. however, as a small valley in itself. It may be thought, It is of especial importance for the reason that here are found some of the most impressive ruins of all Middle America, and also be cause of the fact that these ruins have been attributed to the Pre-Aztec civilization known as Toltec. Dr. Garnio,19 under whose direction most of the work was carried out here for the Mexican government, has concluded that this site was the legendary Tulan of the Toltecs. periods of occupation here. He shows three main They are (1) the Aztec, which was the latest; (2) the Toltec, an intermediate period; and (3) the Archaic, which is equivalent to the archaic in other parts of the Valley of Mexico. The latter culture he divides into two periods, one of which he sees as purely archaic, the other a period of transition in the direction of the Toltec. His conclusions which are based to a great extent upon a classification of ceramic figurines are stated as follows: Los arquetipos teotihuacanos no son otro cosa que tipos norraales de la cultura arcaica, los cuales son bien conocidos por la tecnica, que es de modelado rnuy burdo y no de moldeado come en los tipos norraales teotihuacanos, y por la forma de los ojos, que estan 19 Manuel Garnio , loc . cit. 56 representados por medio de incisiones oblicuas u horizontales, o bien tienen los parpados superpuestos nor el sistema de pastillaje; se nota tambien en ellos un pronunciado prognatismo, y en muchos casos constituyen meras representaciones conventionales del rostro humano. A1 llegar la poclacion de cultura teotihuacan al valle de Mexico, se puso en contacto con la poblacion de civilizacion arcaica que ahi estaba establecida, originandose de este contacto un tipo de transicion escultorico entre el arcaica y el que train consigo de otros regiones los teotihuacanos. . . . Despues de alguna pernanencia en el valle, el arte de los teotihuacanos llego a un florecimiento, produciendo los tipos normales, que son mas realistas y acabados y estan vaciados en molde. las tres civilizaciones del Valle de Mexico representan tres etapos de una gran evolucion cultural, a saber: la arcaica, de iniciacion; la teotihuacana, de florecimiento; y la azteca, de decadencia. At no site in Middle America are the ceramic figurines as plentiful as here, where they must have been used as votive offerings. They have been found by the thousands. Comprising in the main small heads, whose bodies must have been made of perishable materials, they represent facial features of almo-st limitless variety. Yet they all appear to be marked by certain basic peculiarities of design characteristic of this site. To Dr. Garnio1s three general periods of occupation at PO Manuel Gamio, loc. cit. 57 o-j Teotihuacan, Vaillant has added another."0 This he recog nizes as a transition period of clear character between the Toltec and the Aztec, and he calls it the Mazapan culture after the name of a section of Teotihuacan. Linne22 has re produced typical examples of figurines from this period which he recovered in the pursuit of his own researches at this site. Archaeological work in the eastern part of Mexico has not been as complete as that in the Valley, but the types of figurines in clay from that region are easily recognizable and may be found in many collections. Most of these repre sent surface finds without any accompanying archaeological data. As early as 1883, however, an illustrated account of prz certain temple r u m s of eastern Mexico was published, u and in 1907 Fewkes^ made his renort on the archaeology of this region to the Bureau of American Ethnology. In the twenty-fifth annual report of that institution George C. Vaillant, "Stratigraphical Research m Central Mexicoft(Proceedings, National Academy of ociences, vol. 18, no. 7), Washington, 1932. 22 S . Linne, Archaeological Researches at Teotihuacan (Stockholm: The Humanistic Foundation of Sweden, 1954) 23 H. Strebel, Alt Mexico (Hamburg: Archeologischer Beitrage zur Kulturgeschichte seiner Bewohner, 1885) 24 Jessie Walter Fewkes, "Certain Antiquities of East ern Mexico," Twenty-fifth Annual Report, Bureau American Eth nology (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1907) 58 Fewkes describes the ruins near the present cities of Ver Cruz and Jalapa in the country of the Totonac Indians, as well as certain sites in the Panuco river valley, the habi tat of the Iluaxtec Indians. Figurines are reproduced from both areas, and they represent examples extending from the archaic horizon to the period of Aztec domination. Vaillant reproduces, for comparison, a number of east coast figurines in his above mentioned report on work at Zacatenco. These are known to have originated in the State of Vera Cruz and in the Panuco river valley. They have the same general characteristics as those mentioned above. In Ellen SpindenTs report on the archaeology of the Totonac site of Tajm, 2 5 an exceedingly interesting pyramid in northern Vera Cruz State some two leagues west of Papantla, the Totonacs are shown to have held the most important position among the other tribes of the East Coast region. Like her husband, she inclines to the view that there was no differentiation in the archaic period and that the different individual cultures, the Huaxtec in the north, the Totonac in the central area, and the Olmec in the south, developed from that homogeneous cultural period. Moreover, she per- 25 Ellen S. Spinden, "The Place of Tajin in Totonac Archaeology," American Anthropologist, new series, v. 35, 1933. 59 ceives much common quality in the arts of these various tribes even in late times, but enough that is different to cause them to stand out as separate entities. In fact, a similarity is pointed out between the art of the East Coast area and that of the Zapotecs of southern Mexico. Figurines reproduced in her report are valuable for a study of the art form of this area. Danzel's Mexico II 26 is illustrated by some of the finest examples of Totonac ceramic sculpture. These "Laugh ing Heads" are thought by E. Spinden27 to date from the per iod of the Toltec ascendency in the Valley of Mexico. In western Mexico, as in all other parts of the country, clay figurines are among the common remains of the prehistoric past. Despite the comparatively small amount of archaeologi cal work carried out in this area, enough finds exist for general classification, and certain investigators claim to perceive in them at least four distinct types of figurines.2e The most important and distinctive culture of the west 2^ Theodor Wilhelm Danzel. Mexico II (Hagen, Germany: Druck Von Bald and Kruger, 1922;, pp. 42, 48-50. 27 E. Spinden, ojq. cit., p. 270. 2® George C. Vaillant, "Excavations at Zacatenco," Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. XXXII, part I, New York, 1950. 60 is the Tarascan, which, according to J o y c e w a s a wandering "Chichimec" tribe of people who descended upon an estab lished culture akin to the pre-Toltecs of the Valley of Mex ico. They soon became a ruling class and gave to the whole population the name, Tarascan, after their hunting Cod, Taras. Their geographic extent is based upon material re mains as well as upon the Tarascan language, traces of which are found from the Rio de las Balsas on the south, into Jalisco and as far north as Zacatecas. Two of the most important localities are around the lakes Pazcuaro and Chapala. Although attention is frequently called to the re semblance between figurines of western Mexico and those of the Valley, rz p) n? -i Vaillant^-1- holds that they have little m mon aside from technique of manufacture. com Moreover, he points out that they bear no data as to period. It would appear that figurines in western Mexico were made over a long extent of time. Existing collections re veal forms which vary from what is commonly regarded as ar chaic to what appears to be extremely sophisticated. 90 Thomas A. Joyce, Mexican Archaeology (London: Phillip Lee Warner, 1920), p. 28. 30 Ibid., p. 19V. Vaillant, o jd . cit . , p. 143. The 61 conventionalization, such as is common to Maya and Zapotec art, is universally absent in the western a r e a . ^ 2 It should be noted that the scientific data for per iod assignment is very scant. Classification according to style, however, is quite possible, and from this, fairly ac curate opinions regarding period might be formed. Tarascan figurines, which stand apart stylistically from the archaic examples within the same area, are generally accepted as be longing to a late culture. But the fact remains that the archaic type figurines may, in certain localities, have been made at a very late date and it is quite possible that in certain out-of-the-way places the tradition might still be alive. The type of figurine generally classed at Tarascan is usually large and hollow and it represents both men and women engaged in everyday occupations. A series of such objects, taken from a burial mound at Itzlan and now in the American Museum of Natural History, has been described by Lumholtz?5 Those figurines commonly found within the Tarascan territory and seen by Spinden^ 39 as nearly identical with Herbert I. Spinden, A Study of Maya Art, Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University "["Cambridge: Peabody Museum, 1913} , vol .VI, p. 229. ^ C. Lumholtz, Unknown Mexico (New York: Scribner’s, 1902), vol. II, pp. ^00-ai5.-------34 Spinden, ojq. cit., p. 229. 62 CHichien / r z ^ ' ST •\TUC oo M "TtKflL CrfffiS ,'iftROtiJc * >(?c/e/y s /?/t7o j' RfttYCHG QU(rMf)20 } F IQ. 3. THE MAYA AREA O 63 those of the Early Cultures of the Valley of Mexico are small and solid. Although possessed of a lively naturalism which presents men and women in their everyday life, they are generally regarded as representing pre-Tarascan cultures. In the Maya area, due oossibly to the impressive nature of the ruined cities with their wonderful architec ture and stone sculpture, figurines have not received as much attention from the archaeologist as has been accorded them in certain other parts of Mexico. Their importance in con nection with the Early Cultures everywhere lies simply in the fact that they comprise most of the material remains of those cultures. However, they were manufactured throughout the Maya area from the earliest times; and, as in other parts of Middle America, it is possible to observe here the main division into the "Archaic" and the sophisticated styles. The former are always hand modelled; the latter are gener ally made in moulds. Butler55 has described two distinct classes of modelled figurines. One of them comprises the typically archaic group found from Vera Cruz State to the highlands of Guatemala in no great numbers, while the other seems restricted mainly to the east coast of Yucatan where it appears to date from a late period and to represent a degeneration from mould-made 36 Mary Butler, "A Study of Maya Mould-made Figurines," American Anthropologist, new series, V, 37. 1935. 64 prototypes. The archaic style is generally regarded as be longing to early cultures preceding the great Maya civiliza tion, but it is to be noted that it has been discovered in horizontally stratified deposits in but three places throughout the Maya area. At TJaxactum such figurines occur in the lowest level, and Dr. Garnio 57 has found them at Miraflores in the lower levels; and, again, mixed with historic Maya ma terial, in the upper levels. The style has much in common with the arenaic figurines in other parts of Mexico, but it is probable that its differences are more significant than its similarities. Another group which Butler5^ sets apart in her sys tem of classification is that of brasero figurines. Here are seen rather large figures of men and animals, made of coarse clay, and attached to braseros in such a way as to call to mind the funerary urns of the Zapotecs. These brasero objects were made in the late Maya period and have been discovered in Yucatan, Tabasco, and in the highlands of Guatemala. The last group noted by this same author is that of late mould-made figurines. 56 These latter, usually of well Butler, loc. cit. 37 Manuel Gamio, loc. cit. 38 Butler, loc. cit. 65 fired clay, having a color range from buff to orange, aver age from fifteen to twenty centimetres in height. They ap pear in great variety, but can be classified into several fairly distinct styles which are based more upon facts of representation than upon abstract design. Eutler^ notes two styles which are widely distributed throughout the area and several which are restricted to certain localities. Of two former, one is characterized by the refined and realis tic way in which the human figure is represented in the round, while the other is marked by a crude and bold tech nique where little attention is given to the execution of detail. In this latter style the author points out what to her is a superficial resemblance to Mexican figurines and suggests that this resemblance lies within a "feeling of unity" common to both. Among the several local styles noted, some reveal a high degree of conventionalization and all of them may well be modifications of the two more gener al styles mentioned above. There is evidence that all these different styles extend into the Old Maya Empire. Another classification is applied by Butler to head forms, where three types are noted. Head form A is character ized by (1) an oval face, (2) a back-slanting forehead, (3) Butler, loc. cit. 66 slanting eyebrows. Head form B shows (1) a square, chubby face, (2) a spreading, flatfish nose, (3) a bulging fore head, and (4) a short, rounded head. Head form C, which is rare in figurines of the realistic style, is marked by (1) a roughly square face widest at cheekbones, (2) a very pro nounced chin, and (3) an extremely depressed forehead. For an exact description of the conditions under which Maya figurines of the mould-made type have been found the reports by Gann40 of his excavations at 3anta Rita, British Honduras, are excellent. This author gives a detailed des cription of his work with various types of IJaya mounds and reproduces numerous clay figurines recovered from them. In an annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology,4^ full color reproductions of some of these finds may be seen. SjHuiden.42 reproduces figurines from the XJloa Valley, Honduras; from lonuta on the lower Usumacinta in Tabasco State; from Campeche, Yucatan, and Cosmuel Island. This selection from points so widely separated within the Haya are, offers valuable material for comparison. ^ T. W. F. Gann, "The Maya Indians of Southern Yuca tan and Northern British Honduras," Bulletin, (Washington; Bureau of American Ethnology), vol. 64. ^ Gann, op. cit., vol. 19, part II, plates MAAV,EiHlII. 42 Spinden, o jd . cit. , plate 17. 67 Cf all the cultures of Kiddle America not one stands out with more individuality and quiet persistence than that of the Zapotecs. At a tine when the late-coming Aztecs had been successful in extending their domination in many direc tions and as far as the peninsula of Yucatan, it appears quite probable that the Zapotee culture remained free and intact with possible local exceptions of short duration. G-ann^5 assigns to the Zapotee and Mixtee cultures the region extending from Rio de Las Balsas in the north and west to a line drawn between the towns of Teotitlan and Tehuantepec on the Last. He places the Zapotee people in the eastern part of that area and the Mixtee in the western part. It wall be seen that this area lies between the land of the Maya on the east and the land of the Aztecs on the north. The Mixtee culture, although possessing characteris tics of its own, has so much in common with the Zapotee and so comparatively little in common with the other chief cul tures of Mexico, that its art will not be considered separate ly in this study. Richards says it is quite probable that in ancient times the Mixtecs and Zapotecs were one tribe and that subsequent local variations developed. The Zapotecs, living in the land of the Zapote, came to have cultural A rZ Thomas W. Gann, Mexico from Earliest Times to the Conquest (London: L. Dickson, 1936), pp. 63-76. 68 traits somewhat different from those which were developed by their kinsmen, who chose to inhabit the highlands to the west. It is true, moreover, that the figurines of the Mixtee culture were made, with comparatively few exceptions, of stone and jade rather than of clay.4^ Clay figurines of Zapotecan form have been discorered over a very widespread area and are not at all restricted to what is regarded as the Zapotecan territory. Examples from the Valley of Mexico and from the Maya area are plentiful, while traces of Zapotecan influence might be found through out all of Middle America. Spinden^ ± s Qf the opinion that the Zapotee culture is profoundly indebted to that of the Mayas. Certain qualities of design which a re attributed to Maya art and seen as Maya influence in Zapotecan art might just as well have originated with the Zapotee culture and spread from it into the Maya area, especially after the time of the Old Maya Empire. This is a possibility strongly sug gested by a study of ceramic figurines. Moreover, the exis tence of clay figurines in certain collections having forms of purely Zapotecan character but labelled Aztec or Maya4^ C. G. Richards, The Ruins of Mexico (London: II. E. Shrimpton, 1910), pp. 100-154. Spinden, 1938, op_. cit., p. 159. ^ San Diego Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. 69 because of the fact that they were discovered in those areas, makes a closer study of Zapotecan design seem exceed ingly desirable. The site of Monte Alban has offered the most impor tant material for a study of those clay figurines which must be recognized as native to the entire Zapotee area. This mountain ruin, overlooking the present city of Oaxaca, was once the capital of the Zapotee tribe until its abandonment long before the arrival of the Spaniards. It was replaced as capital by Mitla, famous today for its unique architec tural ruins. tremely rare. Figurines at this latter site, however, are ex Other sites within the area which have pro duced finds of clay figurines are Tlacolula, Cuilapaf^3tla; and, west of Tehuantepec very near the Pacific coast, the site of Tonala.49 Although explorations have been going on intermit tently at Monte Alban for many years,50 the reports on recent 4-7 E. Seler, Ges amineIt e Abhandlungen zur amerikanischen Sprach-und Alterthumskunde (Berlin: IS02-1906), vol. II, pp. 359-61. 48 Loc. cit. 49 C. Seler, Auf alten We gen in Mexiko und Guatemala (Berlin: 1900), plate 6. 50 Marshall H. Saville, "Exploration of Zapotecan Tombs in 3. Mexico" (American Anthropologist, new series, 1099), vol. I. and L. Batres, Exploredones de Monte Alban (Mexico, 1902). 70 work done at that site under the direction of Senor Alfonso Caso R "I provides adequate material for the study of the art form of Zapotecan clay figurines. Caso gives exact descrip tions of the tombs and of the positions and circumstances under which the figurines were taken. reproduced numerous examples. In his reports are . For excellent photographic re productions of typical Zapotee figurines, however, no better work exists than that of Fuhrmann.52 Although for this study much use was made of archeologic a1 literature and photographic reproductions of figur ines, the most valuable material comprised original figurines in the collection of the San Diego Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Here numerous examples representing all the different Pre-Columbian cultures exist and these were studied at first hand. 51 Alfonso Caso, Exploraciones en Oaxaca, quinta y Sexta Temporadas, 1936-1937 (Tacubaya, D.F., 19361 52 Ernst Fuhrmann, Mexiko III (Hagen i.W.: Druck von Bald and Kruger, 1922) N. o o J. Fl<3|.4- THE C U L T U R E REGIONS OF MEXICO. CHAPTER IV THE FIGURINES OF THE ZAPOTECAN CULTURE An examination of numerous Zapotecan figurines, both originals and reproductions, disclosed such a great varia tion within the detail of their material form, that the discovery of any basic principle within their art form seems at first thought impossible. However, upon increas ing acquaintance with them and by comparison with the fig urines of other cultures there come to light certain for mal relationships which are unmistakable. A lengthy study of these objects is not necessary before their characteristic and most obvious qualities may be recognized. They possess even for the casual eye an ex pressiveness that is quite unlike that of any other style. The difficulty lies within the problem of discovering those qualities to the extent that they may be restated objectively and in terms of fairly measureable space relationships. This difficulty is increased when it is realized that rarely if ever does a figurine exist which possesses solely an art form belonging wholly to one culture. Zapotecan art form, like that of the Mayas, the Aztecs, and all the different tribes, can only be understood as a unique tendency within space order. Such tendency can be discovered through an examination of a great many examples of 73 of art objects and indeed it never exists apart from other tendencies within the extent of the object's material form. Moreover, the genius of the artist is such that oftentimes he is able to harmonize two distinct tendencies of design almost to the point where each becomes lost within the other to produce something entirely new. When this happens, of course, a new style exists, a new tendency within space order has been expressed. A modification of both former tendencies has resulted in a new kind of unity. B e t w e e n the stage of such a happy marriage of two styles and that where a union of comparative violence is maintained, are to be found, possibly in all art and cer tainly in that of Pre-Columbian Mexico, many varying degrees of harmonious relationship. The influence within the form of Zapotecan clay fig urines which is at once noticeable is from the land of the Maya. This appears to exist in two quite distinct forms within these objects. An examination of certain Old Empire monuments1 and of figurines from Guatemala, the origin of whose form is to be found within the Old Maya Empire, will reveal formal relationships which are easily seen in many Zapotee figurines as well. These elements, however, are ^ Edgar Lee Hewett, Ancient Life in Mexico and Cen tral America (New York: The Bobbs Merrill Company, 1936), Monument No. 11, quirigua, facing page 269. 74 found to be used in such a way as to contribute structurally to the most essential character of Zapotee figurines. They have become a necessary part of the basic design of these objects. On the other hand, many Zapotee figurines exist wherein qualities characteristic of Maya art are found which appear strange and foreign to the Zapotee order. In some of these the Maya element becomes the dominant tendency of dep sign. These facts would suggest that two distinct periods of intense cultural intercourse between the Maya and Zapotee tribes may have taken place. The development of such a point, however, is beyond the scope of this paper. The type of figurine most common to this culture is that of the funerary urn. Here the figure itself is quite elaborate and so formed as to conceal a small urn attached to its back. and show 110 Such objects are usually, made of a bluish clay signs of having been painted. They are taken, not from the tomb cells proper, but from positions in front of them, either on the floor or in a niche over the door. They have been discovered on the roofs of burial chambers. Strangely, they never contain offerings. Other figurines representing both human beings and animals and made in moulds from this same bluish clay are quite numerous. These latter, like the funerary objects, are usually highly conventionalized. ^ Ernst Fuhrmann, Mexiko III (Hagen i.W.: Druck von Bald and Kruger, 1922), p. 67. 75 However, examples exist which are very naturalistic. In studying these figurines, as well as those of the remaining cultures, the object has been at all times to dis cover where nossible, not the elements which differentiate one individual figurine from another, but rather those ele ments which appear to be characteristic of all the figurines of each culture. Nevertheless, this has required an examin ation of many individual examples. The resulting discoveries, however, have been basic enough to be present in figurines, regardless of degree of naturalism or conventionalism. One of the most important, even if less definitive, characteristics of the Zapotecan figurine plastic lies within a fairly constant relationship maintained between the static, rectilinear system of lines and the curvilinear system which plays about the static divisions. Such a rela tionship, of one sort or another, may be found in the art of all cultures and its study affords one of the most fruitful approaches to the essential character of any art. In Zapo tecan figurines, regardless of degree of naturalism and de gree of intricacy within the two opposing systems of lines, it will be found that the static factor is dominant at all times, serving as a restraining force upon the dynamic ele ment within the total design. The Zapotecan designer achieves what to him is a real and satisfactory space unit by means of a simnle geometric 76 arrangement. In one sense lie sets apart or isolates from its surroundings a certain amount of space and gives to it a distinctive character at the same time by so forming his ma terial as to cause a geometric relationship of planes and lines to become dominant within it. These are easily ab stracted and will be found to be essentially the same for all this plastic. An analysis will reveal that in this Zapotecan design the chief aim has been to create a simple, perceptually mean ingful unit within a limited amount of three dimensional space; to give, first of all, a sense of finality and com pleteness. It is as though great care were given to the construction of a stage set where pathways are laid out in geometric order over which dancers are to perform, the dancers representing the curvilinear factor in the total design. In some examples the dancers are many and their movements over the pre-arranged geometric system are rhythmic, extremely varied, and free. In other examples they are few in number and their movements, although free, are simple and summary. The convention or basic plan upon which the space unit is based may be understood in various ways depending upon which elements are examined by the observer. If the plan is looked at in terms of a distribution of planes in space, it offers a clear and simple principle. The Zapotecan designer enters imaginatively into a space that is cubic and his en- 77 trance is made along one direction. These figurines will be found to embody a series of planes which are parallel and vertical, as seen in Figure 5 below. Such an arrangement of Fig. 5 repeated two dimensional areas produces a convincing three dimensional effect. But unless tied together in some way it may loose in unity and consequently in force. The Zapotecan plan, therefore, was simply to insert into the arrangement one or a number of planes which would cut diagonally through the vertical system as shown in Figure 6. F ig . 6 78 Such an arrangement of planes as that mentioned above possessed, in itself alone, qualities of strength of force, clarity or simplicity, and unity, and these qualities are all characteristics of the art form of Zapotecan figurines. But there are other qualities held in common by these objects which differentiate them more completely from the figurines of other cultures. It will be noted that all the Zapotecan figurines give the effect of forceful contact with the surface upon which they are placed. If a comparison is made between a seated Tarascan figurine and a seated Zapotecan figurine this qual ity becomes immediately apparent. The Tarascan example will be found to possess a great deal of activity of line and plane, but practically all of that activity will be seen to take place above the plane upon which the figurine rests. The Zapotecan figurine, on the other hand, is so formed that the action of its lines and planes enters into the horizontal plane upon which it rests. A repetition of angles directed downward accounts for this peculiar quality, which contri butes much vitality and strength to the basic arrangements noted above. The planes of that basic arrangement are so shaped as to produce the effect of a system of forces acting as seen in plate 9. This is true regardless of whether a figurine is in a standing or seated position. Another quality peculiar to Zapotee art form is to be 79 found in the way these figurines produce the effect of lunging forward. Although firmly planted in their seated of standing position and expressing clearly the quality of weight, they produce at the same time an effect of forward moving forces which is a most important factor in their total and unique expressiveness. This quality depends to a great extent upon the paral lel disposition of frontal planes within the art form of the figurines. It does not matter, so far as effect is concerned, that some of these planes correspond exactly with the material itself while others owe their existence to several points adequately disposed within the material to cause the observer to complete, imaginatively, their extension. The repetition of frontal areas of both sorts is numerous and the planes re peated are so proportioned as to create a transition which steps forward to account for the peculiar expressiveness here noted. On the whole, the transition is from large to small areas where the small areas are often provided with detailed variation capable of drawing attention to itself from the larger planes. It is quite natural for the eye to take in, at first glance, the large planes which account in a general way for the character fo the figurines, and thereafter be drawn successively to the smaller ones. And it is thought to be within this process that the quality under considera tion arises. 80 Other factors, however, may contribute to the effect. It will be noted, for instance, that the material accounting for the thickness or sides of these figurines presents sur faces whose directions are constantly changing. Unlike the front, the sides are not flat but rounded to flow into the frontal planes. The part played in the design of Zapotecan figurines by the curvilinear system of lines conforms consistently to a rather simple principle, although the degree of complexity to which it is developed may account for wide differences in general effect. lust as a musical composition may be per formed simply or with added variation without any change in its fundamental nature or structure so do these figurines present comparable differences while remaining essentially the same in principle. In some of the simplest examples® the curvilinear element barely emerges from the sculptural mass and has its existence only because of the rounded forms themselves. In others this element stands quite clearly apart as a distinct factor within the total arrangement, re vealing a definite function. In all cases it will be found that the curves never interfere with or weaken the planes; but, on the contrary, function to give added force to the static, sculpturesque definition of space. 3 Herbert I. Hpinden, ancient Civilizations of Mex ico and Central mierica (Mev: York: American Museum of Natural History, 1988), p. 158. 81 The curves accomplish this function in two ways. They serve to animate the planes themselves and to give em phasis to the transition mentioned above. It will be seen that the curvilinear movements take place within each frontal plane and that, as these planes recede, the amount of move ment is reduced until the large rear planes are noticeably quiet or inactive. plate 2. M a i n h o r i z o n t a l a n a v e r t i c a l a i v i s i o n s i n Z a p o t e c a n figurine. ir'Xate 5 + M a i n l i n e s o f a c t i o n in Z a p o t e c a n f i g u r i n e * i>late 4. Rhytnmic action in Z a p o t e c a n f i g u r i n e * plate 6. Maixx h o r i z o n t a l a n d v e r t i c a l c a i v i s i o n s Z a p o t e c a n figurine. in 89 + a r r a 11^ allel frontal plane \n zapoteoan •ement in *** plate A c t i o n of urine. triar es in Z a p o t e c a n fig- ^late 1c * r r i n c i p l e o f &_ te c a n f i g u r i n e . it of p l a n e s i n S a p o ^ plate H. A c t i o n l i n e s whi .ect h o r i z o n t a l p l a n e o n w h i c h Zapotecn-n / i g u r i n e rests. plate 1£. Vertical,horizontal and rhythmic in Z a p o t e c a n f i g u r i n e . relationships plate 13 . Z a p o t e e a n f i g u r i n e s h o w i n g c o m p a r a t i v e l y n a t u r a l i s t i c form. CHAPTER V THE FIGURINE8 OF THE MAYA CULTURE As stated in Chapter Three, the ceramic figurines found within the Maya area appear to form two major groups, each of which may present, in turn, material for further classification.- These groups comprise, on the one hand, all those figurines having the typical "archale” character istics as they are stated by Hpinden and, on the other hand, those in which the sophistication of the specialized culture of later times is apparent. The first group shows at all times a hand-modelling technique, while the second group in this area shows that moulds were in general use. Examples have been found, however, which, although hand made, belong to a very late period and reveal a form that is a degeneration from early mould-made prototypes. As usual with Pre-Columbian ceramic ware, glazing is not found, although the practice of polishing was common. It would seem that one of the important problems facing the archaeologist of this region is that of discover ing the true relationship between the great specialized Maya culture and that which is indicated by the few archaic re- ^ Herbert 1. Spinden, Ancient Civilizations of Mexico and Central America (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1928), pp'T 53-57. 97 mains found throughout the Maya area. Such a study might eventually account for some of the basic similarities noted in the art of other Indian cultures, and it would call for a most careful consideration of the figurines belonging to the so-called archaic level. It has been seen, however, that to date these objects are barely known in relation to stratigraphical research, and that such material is too scant for a study of its essential design to be of value. The present chapter proposed to point out the essen tial qualities of the most common types of clay figurines found within the Maya territory and to show that these quali ties lie within a characteristic use of space. It aims to isolate the unique Maya tendency from other tendencies of design often associated with it in the material objects them selves. It is, therefore, concerned with factors, which, because of their fundamental nature, are highly general. As mentioned before, it is probable that no such thing as pure design exists in art objects, any more than pure race or culture exists. The design tendencies found within the Maya figurines suggest connections with cultures both remote and nearby. Some of these, however, may have no such significance, and serve rather to support the view that similar concepts and forms may develop in different parts of the world where no cultural intercourse existed. An exam ination of certain old Chinese bronze urns of the Shang 98 dynasty and objects made by the Haida Indians of queen Char lotte Islands will reveal proportions and qualities strik ingly similar to many proportions found within Maya art. It would be reckless, however, to conclude from this that the Maya, the Chinese, and the Kaida were originally connected or ethnically related. But, on the other hand, such^similar ities of design do indicate a spiritual kinship. They do reveal similarities in mental traits in the way concrete material becomes perceptually meaningful. Other similarities, such as those noted between Maya figurines and those of the Zapotec country, the quiche2 country of Central America, the Hauztec country along the Panuco river, and the country along the Papaloapan river are such that cultural intercourse of some sort can be the only possible explanation. Here are seen numerous examples of ob jects wherein the Maya tendency in art-form is at least a bor rowed element if indeed it is not the only element which is not borrowed. Very recent explorations in the southern part of the State of Vera Cruz appear to prove that great Maya settlements existed there as early as November 4, 291 B.C. 2 rA American Sources of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935. g Mathew W. Stirling, "Discovering the New World’s Oldest Dated Work of Man," National Geographic Magazine, Vol. LXXVI, No. 2, Washington, D. C., August, 1939. 99 And some of the clay figurines from this site show a highly cominant Maya space order. Nearby, the Totonac tribe pro duced figurines unique in their imaginative treatment of space. If the mastery over space, as it is recorded in art form, is any index to the quality of a culture, then the Maya civilization may well be regarded as highly superior to that of all other Pre-Columbian Mexican groups. For the mastery here attained over space is not only far superior to that of other Indian cultures, but also it equals the attainment of any known civilization. This seemingly extra vagant statement may rest solely upon an examination of Maya clay figurines, but if more complete support for it is needed the great stone sculpture is available for study. As was seen in Chapter Four, the Zapotecan artist conceived of space as a cube upon which he was able to im pose order only by means of a repetition of frontal planes tied together by other planes projecting at an angle through them. Over any one or all of these planes he could imagine related movements of some degree of variety and complexity, but even upon these sure and established surfaces he never ventured far in the direction of relationships wherein angles and straight lines have no part. After building a simple, geometrically limited spacial unit he restricted his move ments to it and moved with some caution. A study of the 100 figurines of the Maya artist, on the other hand, discloses an entirely different situation. Maya figurines vary extremely in their material form. They embody images which range more freely than those of any other culture between the abstract and the naturalistic, and the subject matter of representation in them is equally di versified. Some show human figures in the acts of everyday living, while others portray purely imaginary beings, reli gious images, and ceremonial life. Some are solid, while others are hollow; some are painted, fired, and polished; others left plain. But all of them, regardless of degree of naturalism of convention, betray a way of thinking with space which, more than anything else about them, makes their true identification clear. The use of space characteristically Mayan, however, rarely fails to suggest at the same time tendencies which are native to other cultures. Just as the Maya influence may be seen within Zapotecan figurines; so is it quite com mon to find Maya figurines in which the Zapotecan order is at least commented upon. And among late mould-made figur ines from Yucatan there is one type, somewhat crude and lacking in attention to detail, whose geometric form is very likely a case of borrowing from the Valley of Mexico. These borrowings, however, generally are used with such skill that they do not produce the "hybrid” effect noted on 101 occasion in works of other cultures* And where a knowledge of the design of other cultures is absent they might go un suspected* This facility in the use of modes of design native to other tribes is a further indication of the mastery of space characteristic of the Maya artist. Inasmuch as the expres siveness of the figurines of a culture depends upon an est ablished space order the Maya craftsman, because of his ability to move so freely in space, finds it possible to include the points comprising that order within his own and the effect is as though the foreign expressiveness, while retaining its own individuality, functions freely and with out compulsion within a new set-up. It will be noted at first glance that Maya figurines are softer in effect than those of the other tribes. They will be found to lack the harsh and sharp angles, the hard, forced planes. tained. found. All edges are rounded, no direction is sus On their surfaces straight lines are not to be They appear to be made entirely of subtle and re fined curves. Nevertheless, they are marked by great strength and a close examination will disclose that this strength lies within a geometric structure clearly implied within the system of ever changing movements. In the case of some of the more "conventional" fig urines, where this geometric factor becomes literal, it 102 will be found that the most subtle use of curves has been made. Here the artist has managed to imply squares and rec tangles within the very circumferences of circles. This is done by defining a generally, circular area with circular movements of different radii. The result is a design which, while having the dynamic quality of change, is at the same time extremely stable. It is an expression of unity or per manence within never-ceasing movement. The use of material in such a way as to create in art form of never-ceasing movement is perhaps the most funda mental characteristic of the Maya artist. This character istic, however, is very general and does not completely de fine his work. As will be seen, movement- is also very im portant in Totonac figurines. An examination of these movements in terms of the space they define or realize, on the other hand, will disclose the specific character of Maya art. And it is herein that the artist’s mastery of space may be understood. The excellence of any art object lies within the de gree to which the functional parts of that object’s design exist effect. in harmony with each other and to the end of unity of An object in which lines, spaces, et cetera do not work together cannot claim consideration as an art work. will lack expressiveness. It But, it would appear necessary to recognize different degrees of order. The intention of the 105 artist is an important factor in the meaning of design. Maya art is superior to Zapotecan art only in the sense that the Maya artist’s intention was always more comprehensive. The Zapotecan artist accomplished his object with complete success, but his intention was limited. And it is quite pos sible that such limitations should be regarded as cultural traits. It will be seen that the movements set up with the material form of Maya figurines are not at all restricted to certain pre-established planes. Neither is it true that their relationships are predetermined by rectangles and squares. All the points in space seem easily within their relationships are predetermined by rectangles and squares. All the points in space seem easily within their reach and they pass through them at will. figurines do not conform. The movements in Maya But on the other hand an expres siveness that is both profound and clear usually pervades them; and, with all their freedom and subtlety, they main tain the strictest sort of order. This ability to comprehend any or all points of space within a perceptually meaningful relationship allows the Maya artist a wide range of expression and permits him to represent any degree of naturalism in his art. Moreover, because of this ability it is not surprising to find that all of his works, regardless of the image they represent, 104 possess a life-like character in their form. Regardless of how fantastic some of his images may be, they nevertheless embody a formal logic which makes them appear entirely plaus ible as representations of animal form. His peculiar exag gerations of the human figure are presented as strange little beings with as much life as those human figures whose forms are presented in normal proportions. Maya design is naturalistic. In this sense all It is a tendency capable of comprehending all the forms of nature. There is one other quality clearly present in Maya figurines whose significance becomes more suggestive upon the realization that it persists throughout all the variety of expressiveness found within these objects. This quality may be discovered most readily through a comparison of the most fantastic and intensely expressive Zapotecan figurines with those Mayan figurines of the same nature. It will be found that such figurines of the Zapotec artist appear actually to be all that they pretend. If they are expres sive of violence or cruelty, these ideas along are experi enced by the observer. They seem genuine. And although it is possible to take an objective attitude and abstract the essential, formal order from these figurines, this abstract order is never felt apart from the ideas expressed. There is much of the natural reaction to cruelty in the observer's reaction to such figurines, regardless of his art experience. 105 With Maya figurines the opposite is true. However, much cruelty and violence may be meant, it is present at all times in a pretending, playful spirit. "just for fun." It is presented One cannot escape the fact of beauty it self being present along with the ideas expressed. This objective attitude toward all ideas, this abil ity to present ideas forcefully but with a detached spirit, is clearly shown in Maya figurines. It represents an at tainment which is not equalled by any other Pre-Columbian Middle American culture. 107 plate 16. M a y a f i g u r i n e f r o m S a n t a Rita, Horduras British 108 plate 17 * M a y a f i g u r i n e s h o w i n g c u r v i l i a e a r r h y t h m plate 18. M a y a c l a y v e s s e l w i t h head, Santa hita 110 plate 1 ). Late moulomade type o f M a y a figuxiiie Ill o P l a t e 20 * M a y a h e a d forms. 112 plate 2 K Maya figurine * late 22 Main action lines tXate CHAPTER VI THE FIGURINES OF YJESTERN MEXICO In the western part of Mexico and particularly around the lakes, Chapala and Patzeuaro, figurines of clay are very commonly found. As noted in Chapter Three these objects were viewed by Spinden simply as representing a continuation of his "Archaic horizon." He saw in them the hand-modelling technique and the representation of features by means of fillets of clay which are characteristics of the figurines of all the early cultures. A closer examina tion, however, cannot fail to reveal qualities so peculiar to these western examples as to suggest that rightly they should all be set apart from those of other localities. Moreover, in this area, two distinct general types emerge and demand consideration. On the one hand are found fairly large, hand-modelied figurines, which are hollow, quite sophisticated and usually painted and fired. On the other hand, there are the small, solid, impressionistic figurines, also usually fired, which anpear to have much more in common with the figurines of the early cultures of the Valley of Mexico. I. FIGURINES OF THE ARCHAIC TYPE Every locality in western Mexico presents certain 117 minor differences in the form and material of the figurines. Those archaic examples found in the vicinity of Lake Chapala can be recognized usually by the exaggerated head shape, while figurines from Zapotlan give more attention to details of dress and tend to & fullness in the hips which is quite noticeable. From Tepic come small examples often made of white clay with heads which appear to have developed out of the more severe arrowhead type common to Lake Chapala. Even within the vicinity of Chapala alone, figurines range in color from a brick red, through a light neutral gray, to a very dark reddish black. These material differences, multiplied when a great number of figurines is examined, have not received careful consideration, such as Vaillant has given to the figurines of the Valley of Mexico. And it is quite possible that such classification will, when it is made, afford valuable knowledge to the archaeologist. On the other hand, the characteristics they have in common are many and some of these set them apart clearly from the figurines of the early cultures of other areas. Throughout this entire area the archaic figurines lack all signs of conventionalization. They are intended to be naturalistic and they represent the everyday life of the people. Men, women, and children are represented in all positions, and the forms appear to have been modelled with 118 complete confidence. spoke directly. The artist never faltered, but always He never attempted anything he could not carry out spontaneously. The primary effect produced by these early figurines is that they are very crude and but vaguely related to the natural forms they pretend to represent. The torso and head are usually flat and the legs and arms are but rounded strips or rolls of clay bent so as to extend directly from the shoulders to the position of the hands. The qualities of the clay itself would appear to determine the form almost entirely. However, upon closer examination, the instances of reference to the sound. human anatomy are found to be many and These early artists were keen observers and their figurines are full of life and truth, once the observer re fers them to their subject-matter rather than to his own standards. They are impressionistic in the sense that they em body only relationships essential to express a generalized statement regarding the action of the human figure as a unit. The human form is here presented only because of its action, and the significance of these figurines lies within the expression of such action rather than in an appreciation of form r>er se. When viewed from this angle, what on first sight appeared awkward, becomes delightfully meaningful. Such parts as feet and hands, which appear as crude stubs 119 from the point of view of anatomical form, when viewed in terms of action, are found to possess a truthfulness that is entirely disarming. The facial features of these solid figurines also give an impressionistic effect. As summarily as the form is here treated, the range of facial expression achieved is nevertheless very wide and surprisingly true to nature. It is possible to identify types of Indians around Lake Chapala, which correspond, impressionistically, to many of the faces of the figurines. Although the "coffee bean” eye, made by means of a strip of clay attached rather freely to the face, is found here; some of the crudest figurines represent the eyes either by working the strips carefully into the head form or by squeezing or pressing the clay out from the plane of the face. It will be found in the latter case that some tool, possibly a small stick, has been used to form an incision in the small mound of clay pressed out for the eyes. And quite commonly the same instrument was used to form the incision for the mouth. While extremely impressionistic it is nevertheless true that all these western archaic figurines exhibit a distinct style. This style, however, is so uniformly and consistently related to the naturalistic impression that it should never be regarded as subjective expressionism. It is 120 simply a direct and orderly statement, kept well within the limitations of a certain material, of observed facts re garding the total effect of the human form. It may be re garded as a simple, abstract design, but one which has its source in natural form. The importance of style in these figurines, however, betrays a sense and appreciation of abstract order which is anything but crude. And quite possibly one of the most im portant disclosures resulting from a study of these objects is that a refined and subtle feeling for abstract order can be represented within an object whose material form appears to lack any refinement of its own. There are no evidences whatever of attempts to present clay except in terms of its commonplace qualities. Even when polished, these objects are obviously made of modest clay and they make no further pretense. The style which they possess lies rather within a broad relationship, which, while leaving out detail, is nevertheless delicately adjusted. this is not always the rule. In primitive sculpture, Examples exist where style, as an easily perceptible, abstract, space relationship, barely exists or is lost within the impressionistic effect. As far removed from the proportions of the human form as certain wood sculptures from the Salomon islands may be, they are, nevertheless, extremely naturalistic and almost completely 121 lacking in style.-1Eecause of the summary character of the design of the western archaic figurines and the corresponding importance within the total effect of the material out of which they are formed, the discovery of those space qualities common to them ail is difficult. The qualities of the clay itself are so pronounced because of the fact that the design is so summary. Both conditions make the problem of design an alysis difficult. The design here is highly generalized. It is more truly a tendency toward space order since material form corresponds so meagerly with it, and therefore it is extremely elusive. It has been necessary to examine many figurines of this type in order to discover the basic nature of their design. These early people, if such art objects are their re flections, were possessed of a keen and powerful insight into form. The relationships which they establish in all their figurines are characterized by much force or energy and by a splendid economy in the attainment of spacial unity. They could enter imaginatively into three dimensional space more directly than the Zapotecan artist, even though their culture may have been less highly evolved. And because of ^ Eckart von Sydow, Die Kunst der Naturvolker and der Vorzeit (Berlin, Germany: Propylaen-Verlag, 1932), p .241. 182 tilis freedom a degree of naturalism was well within their reach. This design, however, is not at all capable of com prehending all points in space, but in fact is limited in a way which defines its essential character. Its freedom is not that found in the figurines of the Mayas. There it was seen that any or all points could be brought into the art form because of the artist’s ability to think rhythmically in all directions and to apply such rhythm either broadly or within a narrow range. Here, on the other hand, is found a design where quick and forceful movements are made between points fairly separated from each other. It is as though the artist, after establishing himself firmly at one point, sud denly jumps through space to another and then another until he succeeds in defining the general outlines and the extent of his object. The effect of this design is a peculiar jerkiness, where a relationship of triangles appears to give the dominant character to the figurines. And it will be found that the action of these triangles does not take in the horizontal plane on which the figurines rest as is the case with those of the Zapotecan culture. II. LATER FIGURINES OF THE TARASCAN TYPE Although the two types of figurines noted above are found in western Mexico, their chronological relation to 123 each other has not been determined. It is quite possible that both solid and hollow examples were made in late times by the Tarascans and that other solid ones date from a PreTarascan period. The classification into solid and hollow groups, in that case, would be of very little value so far as cultural significance is concerned. It is thought, how ever, that the large, hollow examples are unmistakably Taraxcan since the early cultures elsewhere produced only solid figurines. If the characteristics of these could be estab lished then it might be possible to discover which of the remaining solid examples belonged to a late period and which to earlier times, since the late examples, although solid, could be expected to have much in common with the late hol low ones. A characteristic which the large, hollow figurines share with all others of western Mexico is lack of conven tionalized form. No traces of prescribed rules are to be found within them. Like the small solid examples, they are naturalistic in intention and represent human figures in many different positions. Their naturalistic effect becomes very striking when a comparison is made with Zapotecan figurines. It will be noticed, however, that their surface fin ish quite commonly includes the painting, in red and white, of details of dress. While this is extremely common with 184 these figurines, it is not at all common with the crudest of the solid examples. The latter, when closest to Spinden's description of archaic form, rarely show signs of paint. Both, however, are usually fired and often polished. Another feature common to the late, hollow figurines is the plastic representation of ear and nose ornaments and details of dress. Where the ears in the solid, archaic figures are little more than projecting planes made by squeezing the clay between the thumb and forefinger, in the hollow objects the ears are carefully formed and fitted with earrings whose construction is clearly shown. Nose orna ments or rings are inserted into the nose in such a way as to show careful attention to form as well as to action. The effect which such nose rings might have upon the facial form and even upon breathing is carefully represented as well. Finally, it may be observed that these Tarascan figurines are marked by a great deal more surface quality. Although they remain, in effect, distinctly ceramic they are so formed as to enhance the common qualities of clay. Here those qualities become merged with form, losing their com monplace character. Th is las t characteristic is very important for the reason that it exists as a formal distinction. Such sur face quality is based within a preference for full and rounded volumes, a love of form. It reveals a mind now 125 capable of a raore complete mastery over material, where, be fore, that mastery consisted merely of a most summary rela tionship projected into it, however, delicately adjusted it may have been. These figurines are much less impressionis tic at the same time that they have become more naturalis tic . Despite these important differences, one formal char acteristic rexaains which they hold in common with the crudest of archaic examples from this area. Their form is based upon the same triangular relationship. That summary treat ment of space comprising in the archaic examples the entire art form, is here retained even though a more highly devel oped perception expresses itself. p l a t e 2 6. L i n e d r a w i n g of Tarasc&u f i g u r i n e p l a t e 28. A r c h a i c type h e a a f r o m n e a r L a k e C h a p a l a plate t * L i n e d r a w i n g o f s i d e v i e w o f a r c h a i c type h e a d ; 2, d r a w i n g to s h o w c o n s t r u c t i o n o f s a m e head* 131 Plate X. Angular action l0 archai' V p e heaa. plate >1. Tarascan figurine > 4 r^a'r * B 134 i ate C^apals* from nefr ^BiLe £ late *>- ^ o h a i ° i f " * 135 plate 34 * F i g u r i n e f r o m n e a r l'epic 136 plate Archaic type bowl,Chapala district CHAPTER VII THE FIGURINES OF EASTERN MEXICO Clay figurines along the east coast of Mexico from the southern part of Vera Cruz otate to the Panuco river in one north have oeen round In great numbers and their forms vary from the extremely archaic to fairly sophisticated mould-made examples. Moreover, the migrations of peoples and the contacts of various sorts between the different kinds of figurines discovered here. Objects of distinct Maya origin are common, some of which must have belonged to Maya settlements within the region. Aztec and Toltec figurines, possibly brought in by traders, often turn up. But, besides these distinctly foreign objects, it Is not difficult to discover qualities of design in figurines na tive to the region, whose origin must be placed within the Zapotec and Maya cultures. In the north the Huaxtec tribe probably was itself an off-shoot of the main Maya group, settling there, according to loyce^ even before the devel opment of the great Maya civilization of Guatemala. Despite the endless number of indications of culture admixture, however, it is nevertheless true that a certain design tendency peculiar to this region makes itself felt. ^ Chapter III. 138 This tendency cannot be said to exist in all the forms found here for the reasons mentioned above, but it is nevertheless widely distributed geographically; and, quite probably, chronologically as well. And, in the case of Totonac figur ines discovered around the present city of Vera Cruz, it develops itself to such a degree that its character is un mistakable . Throughout the area are found numerous figurines which would fall well within SpindenTs archaic classifica tion. Undoubtedly, all these have much in common with each other, just as they have much in common with the figurines of the early cultures of all parts of Mexico. They are ma terially crude, summary, and impressionistic. They reveal no tendency toward conventionalization, and they represent the daily life of the people. They are hand made, fired, and lacking in attention to detail and surface quality. It will be noted, however, that none of these east ern archaic figurines equals in summary simplicity the crudest examples of western Mexico. Compared to the latter, they all are much more living, much more naturalistic; cor responding more closely, in this respect, to those solid figurines of the west which show the characteristics of the large, hollow Tarascan examples. But with all their natural ism, they present a clear stylistic quality. Aside from the general similarities shared with all 139 the archaic figurines of Mexico, they possess one basic char acteristic which distinguishes them from all the rest. This characteristic is a tendency to space order essentially the same as that found in the sophisticated art of late times in this area. It is marked by a peculiar use of a linear rhythm in the definition of spacial unity in design. A study of the form of Maya figurines revealed a free dom of action within space characterized, by a very rhythmic quality. This quality was based within a system of transi tion which made much use of curved lines and surfaces. Al though accents recur throughout such form, the effect is, nevertheless, that all the points between such accents are a part of the design. In the crudest objects of western Mex ico, on the other hand, it was found that little attention could be given to any coints between accents. The eye, in such cases, was forced literally to jump from point to point, with the result that these figurines possess practically no surface quality and an expressiveness characterized by a jerkiness. It may well be true that the emphasis upon con tinuous rhythmic movement in the figurines of eastern Mexico is a factor whose origin may lie within the Maya culture. However, in this area it has its own peculiarities and can not be thought of as the true Maya order of design. The curvilinear rhythm peculiar to this region is, as mentioned before, most highly developed, and most obvious 140 in Totonac figurines, particularly in the so-called Laugh ing Heads. Its tendency is two dimensional and non impress ionistic . It can be discovered, however, unmistak ably, in figurines which are probably very early Huaxtecan, and also in examples from southern Vera Cruz State which suggest antiquity. In the south it would seem to be more persistent even in early times. Plate 36 shows a small, early clay head representing a type common around Cempoala, Vera Cruz, in which this design tendency is extremely dom inant . Within Huaxtecan examples it exists clearly as a tendency which interferes but little if at all with a three dimensional, naturalistic order even more reminiscent of the Maya plastic. These small figurines are not at all flat, liven though they were made in such a way that their expressive ness is revealed only from front view, they were, nevertheless, conceived of as simple volumes rather than as parallel fron tal planes. In each figurine the several volumes define no static planes. On the contrary they are full and rounded as well as being logically integrated. And it is within the disposition of these volumes to each other that they express in action, which is the essential order discovered in all eastern Mexican figurines. Here is a clear presentiment of a quality which becomes dominant in Totonac figurines, where it exists more completely within the material form of such 141 objects. In the TIuaxtecan examples, however, it is abstract, in the sense that it has little or nothing to do with the presentation of naturalism. The points therein which define this order do not necessarily correspond with those points which create the naturalistic effect. The laughing heads are among the most interesting objects of art of all Middle America. Spinden suggests that they are probably the finest examples of clay modeling from the New World. They represent emotions which range from laughter to a reluctant smile. Their expression of human emotion is extremely subtle and fully realized plastically within a form that is very naturalistic. And yet it will be seen that the expressive order within these heads is strongly two dimensional. They are to be viewed only from the front, a fact which is doubly proven by the existence at their backs of tubular extensions by which they were set into temple walls. Although all of them possess many characteristics in common such as very broad foreheads and faces, due probably to a practice of deformation among the Totonacs themselves, each one has such individuality that it is quite possible they were portraits of individuals. The representation of subtle, human emotion contributes to this effect. Besides these laughing heads numerous examples of Totonac figurines exist which show the complete human figure 142 in a great variety of positions. Some of these appear to be but slightly removed from the archaic, and it might be pos sible to illustrate a very gradual transition from the latter type to the most refined of late examples. An examination of the way the eyes are represented is especially interest ing in that it shows a transition from an oblong groove with out eye ball to a "smiling" oval shape with eye ball, which is accented by the use of black bituminous paint. All of these figurines, however, are easily recognized because of their common quality of design. The rhythmic movements, which define the character of Totonac figurines, are so forceful in some cases that they tend to interfere with the naturalistic effect. At all times they lend to these figurines a unique style, an emotional quality which is in fact often disquieting. The laughing heads show the greatest success in the presentation of na tural form in terms of this rhythmic order; where, at the same time that the image of a laughing face is presented, the abstract order is felt as a unique quality. Here it may be seen that the smallest detail is pervaded both by natural ism and by this dominant tendency to abstract space order. The lips that smile to their very corners are lines which fit simultaneously into the Totonac design. In other figurines, where less attention is devoted to naturalism, the rhythmic order becomes more forceful and its abstract meaning is more 143 easily perceived. Unlike Maya design the rhythmic movements which char acterize Totonac art are not free to go in all directions or to bring all points of the material into their pathways. The material form here is enlivened by movements whose dir ections are restricted to one plane and their total effect, as stated before is strongly two dimensional. As a result of this tendency these objects of art never express as com plete a naturalism as those of the Maya. Totonac artists were incapable of as complete mastery of material as the Maya. Their form is subtle and highly expressive and even possesses a quality in common with that of the Maya, but it is as restricted in its own way as the art of the Tarascans of the Zapotecans. Where the Maya artist could enter his material dir ectly and proceed in any direction therein, the Totonac artist could enter only along the arcs of concentric curves, which, while they might separate like parallel planes in order to involve the third dimension, were never capable of cutting through it or perpendicularly. This does not mean that such directions do not exist within the material form of his figurines. In some of the seated ones it will be found that he has made use of an ar rangement which suggests the basic plan of Zapotecan Funerary urns, and it would be incorrect to overlook this arrangement 144 as a design tendency. Nevertheless, the characteristic Totonac factor is so dominant that it forces the observers’ attention to those points within the inclined material planes which are a part of that factor’s essential rhythm. Along the circumferences of circular discs, which are often strung around the figurines’ necks and which establish in clined planes, there are certain points whose dominance is to be attributed to the fact that they are within the path way of that rhythm. It has been seen that the Zapotecan figurines make much of an arrangement of frontal planes and that rhythmic movements are restricted to those planes. Despite this fact, however, it was seen that these figurines give the effect of coming forward. This apparent forward action was attributed to a forward transition through the parallel, frontal planes. In Totonac figurines no such forward action is felt. These objects are completely lacking in that peculiar, aggressive spirit even though their expressiveness is very forceful. Like the Zapotecan examples they present three dimensional space by means of parallel, frontal planes, but unlike them they do not establish a forward acting transition. It will be noted, moreover, that the frontal planes within the Totonac objects exist only as rhythmic, swirling movements and not materially or aesthetically apart from those move ments. The Totonac artist does not conceive of a plane 145 relationship upon which to allow movements to function. He may, on the other hand, define a plane relationship by the use of movements. The gentle expression of the Totonac art rests large ly upon the character of the rhythmic movements within its design. In the first place, all sharp contrasts are elim inated or at least softened so that one direction is made to flow smoothly and easily into another. But, further than this, these objects are so formed that their rhythmic move ments are very graceful in themselves. They swing in long, easy arcs like the motions of a pendulum, and these arcs, which effectively blend into each other, set up a space form of a very gentle yet forceful expressiveness. 146 Wsm- plate >6. Laughing Totonac head 147 £late 37* Laughing Totonac Head £late >8. Totonac figurine 149 plate yj. Main action lines in Totonac figurine plate 40 • A r c h a i c type head, f r o m n e a r V e r a C r u z 151 plate 41«. Concentric movement in archaic type head 155 plate 43. ITigurine from panuco river valley 154 plate 4^, Totonac figurine 155 plate 4 5 * Figurine from panueo river valley 15 6 fro® -yxa-te i?anu °° ri^er CHAFTER VIII THE FIGURINES FROM THE VILIFY OF The Valley of Mexico, like all other MEXICO fertile valleys of the world, has always attracted many peoples who have struggled for its control. Cut of a considerable amount of archaeological research here, it Is well established that three distinct periods of culture existed. Of the three, the present knowledge of the earliest rests almost wholly upon examinations of clay figurines. These objects were produced in great numbers, however, by the two later periods. The early cultures. The first period of occupation of t lie Valley of Mexic o is referred to by some investigators as the '’archaic period,'r and it is regarded by them closely related to a stage of culture which parts of Mexico. existed asbeing inall Other investigators, however, have been so impressed by the great amount of diversity in types of clay figurines in different regions that they prefer to speak of the "early cultures," rather than use the more com prehensive designation, "archaic culture. Already in this paper the attempt was made to show that a fundamental difference exists between the figurines 1 Chapter III. 158 of the early cultures of western Mexico and those of east ern Mexico, and that the basic characteristics of each ap pear to persist in the more sophisticated figurines of later times. The elements possessed in common, however, should not be overlooked. When the figurines of the early cultures of all regions are seen in relation to those of the later, specialized cultures, the fact of their common characteris tics takes on much significance. Apart from certain similarities in technique, which may as well be of spiritual significance as suggestive of cultural borrowings, it will be observed that the figurines of the early cultures everywhere tend to be impressionistic and free from religious domination. They represent the life of the people in a summary form, which is based in a natur alistic intention. Closer examination, however, reveals distinct differences indicative of various modes of percep tion, of different mental traits. The early figurines of western Mexico disclosed a mind which sought out a relationship in material form com posed of forces acting along straight lines or rather be tween separated points within that form. This peculiar mental trait imposed upon the figurines a characteristic ”jerkiness," which is never absent even in late Tarascan examples. On the east coast, on the other hand, a curvilin ear, pendular rhythm with a two dimensional character appeared to be the unique tendency in design. In the Valley of Mexico where the figurines of the early cultures are marked by the usual characteristics com mon to all others, it is much more difficult to discover any formal tendencies which belong to this region alone and which apply to all the different sites. As seen in Chapter Three, Garnio divides the early culture period at Teotihuacan into two parts. One of these he sees as purely f,archaic the other as a transition toward the so-called Toltec period Cummings at Cuicuilco gives to the archaic period there, as a result of studies made of the figurines, three divisions. The lowest and earliest produced figurines with certain char acteristics unlike any others within the Valley. The middle period figurines appear to have developed from the earliest ones and they are the finest in execution and form. The last period here produced examples which could only have been made by a different people. These are very crude, and clearly related to those found under the Pedregal at San Angel. Vaillant, as mentioned in Chapter Three, produced evidence which indicates even more Clearly that numerous tribes existed here in early times, each having its local characteristics, which are reflected within the design of the figurines. To add further to this complexity, it has been discovered that many figurines from the east and west found their way into the Valley of Mexico during the period 160 of the early cultures. Despite the apparent differences between certain figurines found at the different sites in the Valley, there are others which are common to nearly all sites. Cummings, for instance, noted that the figurines of the late period at Cuicuilco were the same as those at San Angel; and Gamio saw no especial differences between those he found in the lowest strata at Teotihuacan and others found throughout the Valley. This, of course, would indicate that, while local differences existed, there were periods when contacts be tween the tribes of these early times brought about a homo geneity in the form of the figurines. An examination of the local characteristics which account for the differences in types reveals a surprising degree of variation and suggests strongly influences from sources outside the Valley itself. At Zacatenco and Ticoman, for instance, figurines are found whose design has much in common with that of the early cultures of western Mexico. A pronounced angularity in effect, especially within the heads, is very noticeable in Vaillant’s types Hi, Hpp, and Hipj. On the other hand, figurines are found at these same sites whose form is marked by a curvilinear rhythm which strongly suggests the figurines of the Panuco river valley. These show the same swelling hips and the same three dimensional character of design. The best examples of this type, however, 161 are from G-ualupita, in Cuernavaca, just outside the Valley of Mexico, Vaillant*s types D and K, are especially to be noted in this connection. And, finally, it should be stated that these two tendencies are found in combination, where the heads are angular and "jerky,” while the bodies express a pronounced curvilinear rhythm. Among those figurines grouped by Vaillant into types H, there are some whose design is very similar to the dom inant tendency in the Totonac figurines. Further study might prove that this quality is even closer to that of figurines discovered in the G-uatemala section of the Maya area. And in connection with this possibility it is inter esting to observe a number of small heads found at Ticoman and classed by Vaillant as types 1, for they- possess a qual ity that is common to both Maya and Zapotec figurines, and to Maya sculpture of the Old Empire. After observing these variations and possible influ ences from different sources, there remain certain qualita tive similarities which might apply to all the form, and a certain tendency common to all sites but not to all figur ines. At every site, for instance, are found figurines in which much use is made of the technique of applied strips upon clay. These figurines possess a quality which depends upon the sticking on of small strips, rather than upon the modeling of the clay mass. It is a decorative tendency 162 which, is manifested as well in the way the gouges within the clay are made. Carried to such an extreme, it appears to be a significant tendency within the Valley of Mexico. Such figurines, which apparently use the mass only as a founda tion for applied decorative effect, probably belong to the latest of the archaic cultures in the Valley of Mexico. They give the impression of being very crude. There is one other quality which, although common to the figurines of all the early cultures of Mexico, may be more forceful in the Valley of Mexico itself. It is one which stands out at first as a feature distinguishing these early objects from the figurines of the specialized cultures; but once it becomes known, it appears most clearly through out the Valley. This quality depends upon a peculiar ten dency which these figurines have to isolate themselves from the surrounding space, and upon a highly energetic action within the very limited extent of their design. The Totonac figurines are the exception, but they must be regarded as belonging to a specialized, late culture. They make use of a rhythm which betrays a consciousness of a relation of material to space. Here in the Valley of Mexico, however, the figurines of the early cultures show an intense preoccu pation with the material itself. The Toltec period and the Mazapan culture. The popu 163 lar view seems to persist that, before the arrival in the Valley of Mexico of the Aztecs, there existed there a highlyorganized and unified empire known as the Toltec. There can be no doubt that the finest and most impressive architec tural works in the Valley were erected in the Pre-Aztec per iod, but sufficient evidence exists to suggest that this was no period of political or even cultural unity. The differ ent sites had their own local characteristics and it is quite probable that the Valley was settled at this time by a number of independent tribes, each having its own chief. On the other hand, the great creative activitiy of one tribe may well have stimulated similar activity among the others so that a period, uniform in its productivity, may have resulted. Of all the different sites which prod.uce works from the Pre-Aztec period, that of San Tuan Teotihuacan has been given the most attention. It was probably the most Important at that time, and it offers a tremendous amount of ceramic material for study. This material extends from the "archaic" cultures into the Aztec period. At no place are figurines so plentiful. Dr. G-amio ’s designation, "Teotihuacan II," applies to the period commonly called Toltec. This is followed by a period during which a production of clay figurines having somewhat unique characteristics causes Vaillant to see it as a transitional stage between Toltec and Aztec. This he 164 calls the Liazapan period or culture, although it appears at least possible that it represents no more than a variation at one point while the usual Teotihuacan II figurines con tinued to be made. This is followed by the period of Aztec domination. Small clay figurines, mostly heads, have been collec ted from this site by the thousands. It was the practice of these people to make the bodies out of perishable materials so that the heads are all that remain to this day. The fi gurines from the Toltec period are generally hand modelled, quite flat, and with eyes made by means of slits in the clay or with small fillets of clay. Head-dresses, neck scarfs, and sometimes ear ornaments are indicated, but where these elements are applied with bits of clay, they do not give the effect of a superimposed decoration. clearly a part of the expressiveness. The clay mass is Although flat, like their predecessors, they present a plastic quality. In some of these heads the design is very summary while in others a great deal of attention is given to detail for the sake of a representation of individuality. It is quite possible that many of them are portraits of individuals. The number of individual types represented seems endless. Looking at many of these objects, one is impressed by the fun damental similarity which the simplest and most summary ones have to the archaic figurines. .although possessing a strong 165 stylistic tendency they appear, nevertheless, to be quite impressionistic. And, as in the figurines of the early cul tures throughout Mexico, this impressionistic quality is shown within an expression of action rather than within an interest in material proportion. Despite the endless variety of facial expression found in these objects; and, in the case of the simplest ex amples, a decided impressionistic effect, it may be seen that they are all affected by a tendency to a horizontal or der. The eyes, the mouth, the forehead, the lines of the head-dress, et cetera usually are felt as repeated horizon tals which contribute a simple harmony to their expressive ness. It is, moreover, around this strong, static "arma ture " that the movements in the modelling are able to achieve the apparent variety. From the crudest to the most highly refined no effort is made to represent naturalistic "form." What is repre sented is naturalistic facial expression. The human head, as a three dimensional volume, is not regarded. All these figurines are simply faces, and the subtlest modeling found within them is to the end of representing individual facial features and expressions. They are three dimensional ob jects themselves, however, and what thickness they have func tions nicely in an impressionistic manner. that way, to the meaning of the faces. It does add in 166 The horizontal relationship combined with a surface modeling which is rhythmic and refined, gives to the little heads of this period an expressiveness that is gentle and mild. They are never weak, but they are rarely aggressive. Their formal order can be entered directly and it is free and extremely varied within its comparatively narrow scope. These little figurines produce the effect of being somewhat reposeful and relaxed rather than tense and energetic. In no case do they show signs of fanatical, religious domina tion . Those figurines mentioned above as indicating to Vaillant a transitional culture between the "Teotihuacan II" and Aztec periods commonly represent the entire human figure. They show at times a great deal of detailed ornament, head dresses, and clothing and quite often represent the human figure as wrapped in blankets. Because of the unusually large head for the size of the body they have a squatty ap pearance; and, along with it, a very compact, unified mass. These characteristics combined with very narrow shoulders make them appear much like a penguin. Otherwise, these fi gurines seem to embody the essential quality of the Teotihuacan objects. It is even possible that their seeming nearness to Aztec design may rest unon the strong static relationship within the bodies, intensified perhaps because of the fact that it exists apart from the representation of facial emotion. 167 The Aztec period. Ceramic finds at Teotihuacan which date from the period of Aztec domination are comparatively scarce. This site, which flourished throughout the "Toltec7* period as a great religious center lost its importance with the growing power of the Aztecs. Nevertheless, figurines taken from there represent very well the typical forms of the Valley during this late time. They occur always near the ground surface, and the great majority of them are mouldmade and lacking, therefore, in the sharp detail of earlier examples. They often represent deities wearing their charac teristic dress and carrying ceremonial objects. Among the finds which occur in these surface deposits throughout the Valley of Mexico and which belong to the Az tec period, there are many examples to indicate the close ness of cultural contact between the different tribes at this time. Figurines having the design of each of the dif ferent regions are commonly found and there can be little doubt that these were imported. design are plentiful. Moreover, hybrid forms of There are examples wherein the heads belong to one culture while the bodies appear to have the design of another; figurines in which the basic design traits of several cultures are apparent. Despite the numerous indications of cross influences as well as the fact that the Aztecs, upon their arrival in the Valley, were a crude people with few arts, it is, never 166 theless, apparent that this period produced its characteris tic art form. The design f actors whose origin may be traced to the hayas, the Zapotecas, the Tarascans, and the Totonacs, are easily dominated if not wholly assimilated by this new tendency. The Aztec figurines possess characteristics which set them apart clearly from all the rest. Like the figurines of all the different cultures ex cepting the Mayas these were made to be viewed from the front. The artist was not concerned that they should be expressive from any other viewpoint. They are not, however, flat ob jects, nor are they two dimensional in design. The heads un like. the Toltec examples from Teotihuacan, are not mere faces but show the features clearly as a part of a three dimen sional volume. These figurines, while retaining a great deal of the impressionistic truth of the archaic forms, show that the artist was very much concerned with form, with proportion in material. There are, or course, numerous examples of fi gurines in low relief where the design is obviously two di mensional. These do not indicate the capabilities of the Aztec designer and for the purpose of studying his character istic use of space they are of no aid. The Aztec figurines reveal the imaginative form that can be compared more easily to that of the Zapotec than to the forms of any other Pre-Columbian Mexican culture. yet the two are vastly different. And They both are geometric 169 in character, making much use of places in their mastery over space. But whereas the Zapotecan form involves an ar rangement of planes in parallel order, the Aztec form has the character of a block, wherein planes meet each other at right angles. These figurines, because of this kind of ar rangement, appear heavy, solid, and strangely real. They are marked by simplicity, great stability, and strength rather than by refinement. The angular, geometric form which the Aztec figurines possess is a basic characteristic, but the peculiar action within this form which results from a proportion between planes and masses accountsfor their unique qualities. Un like Old Kingdom Egyptian sculpture in stone which is itself very geometric, these figurines do not possess an impersonal sort of expressiveness. Behind their apparent "universal- ity” there lies the "here and now," the mind of the selfconscious individual. It comes through as a penetrating, cruel, and insidious force bent upon readjusting all things within its path to fit its own narrow order, but incapable of compromise. This force pervades the entire form to the extent that it can be perceived in the smallest fragment of a broken figurine. The Aztec form gives the effect of possessing great vitality. It is hard and contracted, isolating itself as completely as possible from the surrounding space, and show 170 ing no inclination to recognize within itself any harmonious or friendly relationship with the outside world. This form does include a series of directions which converge toward a point in front of the mass, but these act as a spearhead by which to drive through space rather than to blend harmoni ously with it. 171 plate 47. Keaa from l'icomau, Talley of Mexico fK;, >o O Oo oOC o Plate 48. O F i g u r i u e f r o m V a l l e y o f i i e x x c o.Farly t o U t u r e SK0.1W plate 45. x*1* design m « fiX£ S “ “ " 'S S m 1?1*" exico 4^ Suj.fi ^ ° uJ-tu U1?* ’ jj r ri*-, Ue * X i Q Q t '°»i 176 plate liarly c u l t u r e heaa, V a l l e y o f M e x i c o .In fluence from Zapotecan region plate 33 * K e a a s f r o m iiarly c u l t u r e s , V a l l e y of M e x i c o 179 a. b. plate >>. b e a d s f r o m Teo tijjuacan. b , t r a n s i t i o n a l types; a, a r c h a i c types; c,ioltec types ! plate 56 . T e o t i h u a e a n I I h e a d s 161 plate Figurine f r o m M a a a p a a culture i - l a t e 36. Aztec fig u r in e CHAPTER IX CONCLUSIONS Before proceeding with a study of the ceramic figur ines produced by the Pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico it was thought advisable to state as briefly as possible the basis for such a study and its particular aims. This basis comprised a number of general assumptions, the soundness of some of which an attempt was made to show. Others were accepted as self evident. It was assumed that the "design’1 of material objects of art expressed a certain intention on the part of the ar tist and that it exists within the material object as a dominant tendency toward an abstract space order. This space order, or art-form was conceived of as comprehending certain points within the material and not others, and as representing in space the essential character of a mental im age. Because of the dominant position of that space rela tionship which comprises the design within the material ob ject, it was argued that this design was communicable, that it was within the reach of actual experience, and available for objective study and analysis. It was recognized, how ever, that such design was highly abstract; and, therefore, that the conclusions reached in this study should not be 184 regarded as entirely valid until similar studies had been made by experienced students of art, who might concur in them• The space order of design was thought of as record ing basic mental traits as revealing the characteristic way in which the mind gains mastery over material, and the de gree of that mastery. It was assumed, further, that the artist in each culture leaves within his own individual works evidence that is essentially cultural. And, finally, the view was taken that the order of design of a culture is as truly expressed within the minor arts, such as clay figurines, as it is within the so-called major arts, such as monumental sculpture and architecture. The material for this study comprised numerous orig inal figurines and photographs as well as comments upon and descriptions of these objects by eminent archaeologists. Critical estimates of this material, from the point of view of art, were practically non-existent; and, where found, were often expressed in vague language. Care was taken to insure as far as possible that the figurines studied were known to belong to a definite region and where possible to a definite site and period. The design of most of these works was studied over a period of two years, of others at intervals over a period of twelve years. Numerous drawings of them were made, both literal and analytical, and some 185 reproductions carried out in clay. The ceramic figurines of the Zapotecan culture re vealed clearly influences from the Maya area. Some of these appeared to he well assimilated while others appeared less so. The Maya factor most harmonious within the Zapotecan design is common to the design of the Old Kingdom of Guate mala. The less harmonious influence may have originated in Yucatan. Despite the Maya influences which are apparent in Zapotecan figurines, however, the latter have unique quali ties of their own. Their peculiar expressiveness is based within a dominating static, geometric relationship of par allel planes, which are pierced by diagonal ones. Upon the parallel, frontal planes a subordinated rhythmic movement is found to play. These rhythmic movements develop in the dir ection of intricacy in direct proportion to similar develop ment by the geometric relationship, and they remain at all times subordinate to it. A subtle transition from the rear planes to the front ones gives to all these figurines a peculiarly aggressive expressiveness. In the Maya area the figurines can be classed into three main groups. The handmade examples would comprise one and the mould-made examples another. The third is a type of figurine which, although handmade, is an outgrowth of or a degeneration from the mould-made type. The first group 186 either corresponds or is related to Spinden’s archaic type. The second and third groups are late, belonging to the highly specialized Maya culture. The Maya figurines are extremely varied in subjectmatter and representation. They are all marked, however, by certain qualities which must be regarded as characteris tics of this culture. These figurines reveal the greatest freedom in the creation of spacial unity. No other figurines in Pre- Columbian Mexico approach them in their spacial complete ness. The Maya artist was seemingly capable of bringing any or all points within his material into the form of his design, and because of this great mastery he was able to achieve a naturalistic expression. These figurines incor porate a space order which is felt to be harmonious with the space outside the material itself. Finally, it may be seen that the Maya artist assumed an objective attitude toward all ideas and expressed truly aesthetic experiences within rnany of these works, In Western Mexico the archaic type of figurine per sisted into late times. The Tarascan culture produced works as late as the Aztec period which possess characteristics relating them to the crude archaic examples. In this re gion it would seem natural to divide the figurines into two main groups: the large hollow examples, and the small, solid 187 ones. A study of these groups, however, suggests that cer tain of the small, solid figurines have the essential quali ties of the large, hollow ones, while other solid examples are cruder and more summary in design. The Tarascan culture undoubtedly produced both solid and hollow figurines, and the Pre-Taraocan culture produced small, solid objects. Although all the figurines of western Mexico possess certain characteristics in common with the general type of "archaic" figurine described by Spinden, while some of the crude, solid ones have much more in common with this general type, it is probably a mistake to group them in that way. They are different in a very positive and significant way from the figurines of the early cultures of other re gions . Both the Tarascan figurines and those which may be Pre-Tarascan have a strong, impressionistic quality. This is true of all archaic type figurines in Mexico, but further than this, their impressionism is characterized by a rela tionship of angles and straight lines. It is this struc tural feature of their design which differentiates them from the ceramic figurines of all other parts of Mexico. The de sign of the Tarascan figurines is less summary, with the re sult that they possess more surface quality at the same time that they betray an interest in form. All these western examples, while naturalistic in intention, show a great deal of style. The coastal region of eastern Mexico, from the south ern part of the State of Vera Cruz to the Panuco river in the north, was the home of Pre-Columbian peoples who developed individual characteristics and who left art works of unique expressiveness. Here are found ceramic figurines of great variety of outward form and subject-matter which range from types essentially archaic in character to others highly sophisticated and as refined as any found in all of Mexico. The influence of the Maya culture is very apparent through out this entire region and the form of the figurines alone would suggest that early migrations of Maya tribes must have passed this way. There are, moreover, other foreign influences to be observed here. Aztec, "Toltec," and even Zapotec figurines have been discovered, while especially Zapotec quality is often to be seen within figurines native to this region. The culture in the northern section has left much ceramic material in the Panuco river valley. This was the land of the Huaxtec tribe, which, according to some authori ties, was an outlying Maya tribe, one which had become sepa rated at a very early date from the main stock. In this area the figurines are rather crude and impressionistic, lacking in conventionalized form, but clearly three dimen sional in concept. They are full and rounded, rather than 189 angular, and it is within the use of curved, rhythmic sur faces for the effect of spacial unity that the Maya factor exists. Along with the above characteristics these figurines present an abstract, rhythmic relationship which is strongly two dimensional in its effect. This linear, rhythmic order exists because of a felt action brought about by the dispo sition of the volumes to each other within the total form of the figurines. It is this two dimensional design, having a peculiar, pendular action which is the dominant tendency throughout the east coast area. It develops itself to the highest point in the Totonac figurines found around the present city of Vera Cruz. Totonac figurines represent the human figure in vari ous positions and appear to be concerned with his everyday life. They are very free from conventionalized form based in religious symbolism. Possibly the finest examples, from the point of modelling and design, are the so-called laugh ing heads. These objects, while strongly two dimensional in effect, nevertheless, express a fine naturalism. They represent the human face in all stages of mirth from laughter to a slight indication of a smile, and the rhythmic movements, noted as a superficial tendency in Huaxtec figur ines, become in these objects a means of expressing natural ism itself. 190 While possessing curved, surfaces and ever-changing directions, which relate these heads to the Maya plastic, the rhythmic relationships within their art form achieves a spacial unity that is far removed from that found in the Maya objects. This design is characterized by a beautiful freedom, but it will be found to be a freedom which has its fixed limits within space. The movements perceived are limited to frontal planes only, which they themselves de fine. Nevertheless, these laughing heads of the Totonacs express a gentleness and grace that places them among the most pleasing objects of art produced by the Pre-Columbian cultures of Middle America. Turning to the Valley of Mexico an almost bewildering amount of ceramic material is found. In no part of that country has the archaeologist done more exhaustive work and in no part has there been more cultural activity since the earliest of times. Figurines from ail regions have been re covered here in their purest forms, along with hybrid exam ples embodying design tendencies of various cultures in strange combinations. Out of this great variety, however, the archaeologists have achieved an orderly picture of the past and much of that picture has resulted from a study of the clay figurines. work of Gamio, Vaillant, and Cummings is based, to a great extent, upon such objects. The 191 The figurines in the Valley which belong to the early cultures show great variety between sites and even on differ ent levels at each site. But they all have much in common. They are crude, impressionistic, and free from religious symbolism. At all sites there appears a type wherein a decorative tendency is shown in the way small fillets of clay are applied and gouges are made within the clay mass. And finally, it will be found that they all are compact, en ergetic little forms, which recognize no points outside their own material mass. The period of the Early Cultures in the Valley was followed by the intermediate period of great achievement commonly known as the Toltec. The site standing out as most important at this time is San Tuan Teotihuacan, which pro duced many great monuments as well as a seemingly unlimited number of clay figurines. These Toltec objects, mostly clay heads, are really but little faces. They are hand modeled, quite flat, and with eyes made by means of slits in the clay or with small fillets of clay. predessors. Thus do they suggest their They represent facial expression with great skill and conviction, and are quite possibly portraits of individuals. The great variety of movement achieving this effect is always presented around a strong horizontal re lationship which is felt because of the repeated directions in the representation of the mouth, eyes, forehead, head- 19 2 band, neck scarf, and so forth. These snail heads give a naturalistic impression, despite their flatness, and they are decidedly free from conventional, symbolic form. At this site of Teotihuacan, Vaillant called atten tion to a type of figurine which was ms.de just prior to the Aztec period and which he regarded as a transitional type. It commonly represents the entire figure, is often hollow, and has a design in which the geometric order is strongly felt. These little objects, in their general action, sug gest little Penguins. They represent what Vaillant has termed the Kazapan culture. The Aztecs brought about a great change in the form of the figurines of the Valley, although they arrived with a crude culture and with very few arts. Signs of intense cultural intercourse are plentifully reflected in the forms of the figurines dating from the period of Aztec domination; and yet, there exist examples whose forms are typical of this period. These are ail narked by great simplicity and strength, by a truly geometric and stylized order, and by a compact relationship which may indicate an extremely narrow and materialistic yet forceful and tenacious mental point of view. The results of this study might add a nev-/ kind of evi dence that the peoples of Middle America, from the earliest of times, were divided into numerous units, each having its 1 -L O ^Z own peculiar cultural characteristics, but nevertheless, carrying on a cultural intercourse with one another. The study suggests further that unique mental traits, unique ways of interpreting the images of the world, and of representing those images developed in different regions, accounting for forms of art that are fundamentally different. It also in dicates that these fundamental processes, developed clearly by the time of the Early Cultures, persisted into the per iods of the great specialized cultures of much later times. And, finally, it is hoped that this study may contribute to a more complete realization of two points: that the products of the Pre-Columbian civilizations of Middle America should be regarded as meritorious works of art, and that a study of the qualities of the art of a culture affords an insight into the life of that culture which cannot be replaced by material evidence alone. BIELIOv BIBLIOGRAPHY Adams, Elizabeth Kemper, The Aesthetic Experience: Its Mean ing in a Functional Psychology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1907. Balch, Edwin Swift, and Eugenia K. , Art and Man. Allen, Lane and Scott, 1918. Philadelphia Barnes, Albert C., The Art in Painting. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1928. Batres, L., Exploraciones de Monte Alban. Mexico:1902. 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