Rufino Tamayo (1899 - 1991)

Figura prehispánica XI. Mujer con adornos en los hombros, Jalisco (1976)
Prehispanic Figure XI. Woman with Ornaments on her Shoulders, Jalisco

Lithograph on paper
height: 56cm
width: 45.5cm

Donated by the Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo 1997


Mujer con adornos en los hombros, one of many images of women in Tamayo's Figuras Prehispánicas series, is the only image to be based on a figurine from the West Mexico state of Jalisco. The female figure wears a turban-like headpiece, and has elongated ears, a wide body and short arms and legs. She stares out at the viewer through wide eyes, and her most distinguishing characteristic is the series of small dots on both of her shoulders which reflect the practice of ritual scarification. Such decoration is commonly found on both male and female figurines from Jalisco, and is constructed out of small lumps of terracotta which are appliquéd onto the larger body. Always conscious of creating detail out of simple lines, Tamayo recreates the scarification with tiny curving crescents and circles. As with the design of the Museo Rufino Tamayo by Fernando Gamboa, which displays such figures from West Mexico against backdrops of bright colours, Mujer con adornos en los hombros is covered with a painted line of similar colour down the centre of the figure.

Terri Geis, 2008

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