Exhibition Spotlight: Mezcala Models at the Met
Jun 9, 2016
Two Mezcala architectural models from the Vilcek Foundation collection are currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition . Created by the native peoples of Guerrero, Mexico, between 100–800 AD, the small stone sculptures, ranging from 2 to 8 inches tall, depict what are believed to be religious temples. Their function is not known with certainty, but they are presumed to have been votive objects, left for or buried with the deceased.
"Mezcala Four Column Temple with Recumbent Figure"
Guerrero, Mexico, 200 BCE–500 CE
H- 3 3/4 x W- 4 1/2 x D- 3/4 in.
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection
The practice of creating miniature models of buildings was widespread throughout the pre-Columbian Americas. As curator Joanne Pillsbury states in the exhibition’s accompanying publication, these models can be better understood as works of art or ceremonial objects than as ancient blueprints: “Precolumbian architectural models were instead a distillation of ideas about the symbolic significance of architecture—as the embodiment of political power, for instance, or as the focus for ritual practice.” The artistic qualities of the models are brought to the forefront in the small but expertly curated exhibition.