In the Court of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford there is a part of a Huastec Mayan figure (1886.1.1122), carved from stone and originally from the Panuco River from the east coast of Panuco. The statue comprises the upper half of a female Mexican idol, crudely sculpted and of grotesque appearance. It has been dated to before the conquest of Mexico by Spain. It was found by Captain G. F. Lyon of HMS Griper in 1825 (Lyon, 1826). A further Huastec stone idol (1889.1 is in case 147a. It is a figure in rough oval form of a woman’s face and hands from Orizaba.
In appearance it is a crude representation of the head, upper arms and breasts of a woman. It is 20 inches high and 81 inches wide. The head is surmounted by a sort of mask that is claimed to represent the head of a crocodile. Close inspection suggests it may indicate that the mask is represents a human skull. In this respect the statue may be that of an ancient Mayan goddess. There were a number of classical mesoamerican goddesses which were chthonic or earth deities. Tlazolteotl was an Aztec and Huastec goddess who was also known as Ixwiname. As a maternal goddess Huasteca was known locally from the Gulf Coast. She was connected to sexual sin and was also the personification of filth. She was also a component part of a group of fertility goddesses classified as the Teiteoinnan Complex. The Teiteoinnan were the goddess midwives and carers, known as the Toci, for the classical Mesoamerican Aztec of Mexico.
Picture taken by author (2011).
References and sources consulted.
Bunson, M. R. & Bunson, S. M. (1996). Encyclopaedia of Ancient Mesoamerica. Facts on File, Inc. New York.
Evans, S. T. & Webster, D. L. (2001). Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America. Garland Publishing, New York.
Fewkes, J. W. (1903-1904). Certain Antiquities of eastern Mexico. Bur.Am.Ethnol. [Balfour Library. Per 10].
Hammond, N. (1977). The Earliest Maya. Scientific American, March.
Lyon, G. F. (1826). Journal of a residence and tour in the Republic of Mexico in the years 1826. [Bod 20890.e.150 (vol 1), 20890.e.150 (vol 2).]
Spinden, H. J. (1975). A Study of Mayan Art. Dover, New York.