Large Aztec Standing Figure of Teteoinnan-Chicomecoatl, ca. A.D. 1470-1521. Est. $15,000 – 20,000. Photo: Bonhams.
New York – The African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian auction to be held in New York on November 12 will feature an important collection of pre-Columbian art.
The highly acclaimed, single-owner collection of roughly 130 Pre-Columbian works of art from Mesoamerica from the collection of Scott Gentling and Stuart Gentling will be offered for sale. The concentration of the collection is on works produced in the Late Postclassic International style, perhaps the single most significant collection ever assembled.
Scott and Stuart Gentling were both accomplished artists renowned for their skill at realistically capturing both human and animal subjects through portraiture. Their 1986 volume, « Of Birds and Texas, » achieved after more than twenty years of research, is widely regarded as an American masterpiece. But it was the account of the Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Díaz del Castillo that fired the imagination of both Scott and Stuart, who said, « After reading the book we wanted to see Tenochtitlan, Cholula…and all of these ancient cities but in order to see them we had to build them. » The brothers had been able to achieve such a high degree of realism in their painting through the use of architectural models that they had constructed of paper and board.
A star lot from this selection is an Aztec Relief Panel with Warrior Figure dated circa 1300-1521 (est. $30,000 – 50,000). The 22 inch-tall panel is made from volcanic rock and carved in high relief in the Mixteca-Puebla International style of southern Mexico. He is grasping a spear and shield in his right hand and wears a tunic called a xicolli which was worn primarily by Mixtec kings but also Aztec priests.
A Large Maya Female Dignitary (est. $20,000 – 40,000) is another highlight. The Jaina figurine is incredibly old, having been sculpted circa A.D. 550-950, and is made from clay with yellow and blue pigment highlights. The female figure stands confidently in an animated pose with her feet arched and broadly separated, her right arm raised, and her left held in front of her.
A notable item in the auction is a Large Aztec Standing Figure of Teteoinnan-Chicomecoatl (est. $15,000 – 20,000) made from red volcanic stone, which was created circa A.D. 1470-1521. Chicomecoatl (Lady Seven Serpent) is the goddess of sustenance. She is shown standing, wearing a long skirt held in place with a snake as a belt, and holds two maize ears in each hand.