Investigating the Standing Figure, Standing Figurine, and Seated Figurine from Teotihuacan

ANTH 281 paper. Prior to this investigation, little was known about the function and meaning of the following three objects from Teotihuacan: the Standing Figure, Standing Figurine, and Seated Figurine. On loan to the Williams College Museum of Art from the Worcester Art Museum, these objects will be displayed in the exhibition ​The​ ​Seeds of Divinity ​alongside many other objects from ancient Mesoamerica, each with their own distinct cultural meaning and background. While the exhibition is an opportunity for the objects to come together as part of a larger conversation about divinity, it is my hope that this paper considers the objects on a more individual, or at least intimate, level. I will first introduce the civilization to which they belong, Teotihuacan, and then present a detailed, observation-based description of their appearance. Then, I will consider their medium, position in time, and production relative to their civilization. Finally, I will discuss their original context, function, and meaning, which will help us to visualize and understand the objects in the same way that they were once understood thousands of years ago: as sacred, animate entities.
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