Rufino Tamayo (1899 - 1991)

Figura prehispánica I. Jorobado, Nayarit (1976)
Prehispanic Figure I. Hunchback, Nayarit

Lithograph on paper
height: 56cm
width: 45.5cm

Donated by the Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo 1997


Like a number of the other images in his Figuras Prehispánicas series, Tamayo based Jorobado upon a figure from Nayarit in Western Mexico. The lithograph presents a hunchback, a frequently depicted figure in West Mexican art and in Mesoamerican art in general. The common representation of hunchbacks has led to suggestions that they were considered to be blessed with special, supernatural powers bestowed by the gods. Tamayo's figure is composed sitting in profile with symmetrical proportions, his protruding back mirrored by his upright chest, his legs spread out in front of him and his short arm at his side. The spout at the top of the hunchback's head indicates that, like the figure in the Jaguar lithograph, this figurine is a vessel. The stone-like textured patterns which surround the hunchback are the darkest of the series, evoking the fact that West Mexican figures were often found in deep shaft tombs. The darkness of the background is contrasted by a bright pink stroke of colour which covers the hunchback's body.

Terri Geis, 2008

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