The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Pre-Columbian Americas
Teotihuacan culture, Mexico
Seated Figure
Classic period, A.D. 200–750
H. 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 76.8

The austerity and hardness of this figure seem to us today to reflect the self-sacrifice, organization, and even rigidity that were characteristic of the great metropolis of Teotihuacan. Though we do not know how this figure was used, in Teotihuacan iconography, upturned hands generally refer to the divine hand from which gifts and abundance flow. This was a favored pose for the depiction of both deities and members of the Teotihuacan elite.