»smiling figure« or »laughing face«, vermutlich 300 – 900 n. Chr.

About the object

The hollow, yellowish-brown terracotta figure was made using moulds for the various body parts and then carefully assembled. It is a well-preserved specimen of the so-called »smiling figures«: they are representations of young people standing upright, arms raised, short legs and a small belly under a slightly sunken chest. In this instance, the figure is presumably male, based on the loincloth, chest band, neck and ear ornaments and a cap with a typical spiral motif. Little is known about the function or original context of the figures. They were grave goods, perhaps viewed as companions of the dead on the journey through the underworld. Their name derives from their expression, the meaning of which is obscure - perhaps a consequence of the ritual imbibing of the alcoholic beverage pulque.

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