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Smiling figure from Veracruz

Smiling figure from Veracruz

Smiling figure from Veracruz, ceramic, Remojadas culture, 7th-8th century, height 47.5 cms., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Smiling figures (called ‘sonrientes’ in Spanish) are one of the most intriguing examples of Mesoamerican ceramic artistry, part of a long-standing tradition of hollow ceramic figures produced in south-central Veracruz throughout the Precolumbian period. The animated expression that is responsible for their name is surprising in Mesoamerican art, where emotion of any kind is rarely depicted...
’Sonrientes’ are most often referred to as male, and those depicted wearing loincloths or with exposed genitalia clearly are. However, authors have disagreed on the gender of others, such as this one, that wear skirts. In both dress and body representation, they do not fit easily into the norms of Mesoamerican representation of the gendered form.

From the Met’s online catalogue.
Photo: public domain.

Read full description on the Met’s website