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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Seated painted figurine made of pottery.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1200 BC - 400 BC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 15.5 centimetres
    • Width: 11.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    From register "Wellcome Historical Museum". Date circa 1200-500 BC.McEwan 2009
    Mexico's Gulf Coast lowlands were the setting for the rise of the first widespread style in Mesoamerica in objects rangind from monumental stone sculpture to smaller, portable pieces in different media. The use of fine white kaolin clay gives this figurine a life like quality and traces of a vivid red pigment that was applied on top of the white slip are also still visible. one rare find of a group of Olmec figurines, excavated in situ, revealed standing figures arranged in a semicircle, apparently engaged in an act of collective veneration or worship. This figure may once have formed part of such a scene.McEwan 1994, p.19
    'The use of fine white kaolin clays imbues this 'baby' pottery figure with a plastic, life-like quality. Traces of vivid red pigment that was applied on top of the white slip are still visible'


  • Bibliography

    • McEwan 1994 p. 19 bibliographic details
    • McEwan 2009 p. 40 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    2003 26 Jun-16 Nov, BM Room 5, Medicine Man: The forgotten museum of Henry Wellcome

  • Condition

    Repaired - one leg broken and rejoined.

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    17 February 1994

    Treatment proposal

    Surface clean, dismantle join if possible, clean, reconstruct.


    Previously broken and restored on leg. Some surface dirt and dust.

    Treatment details

    Surface cleaned under microscope with soft brush and cotton wool swabs dampened with distilled water. Dried in air. Dismantled in an atmosphere of acetone in a glass desiccator with tissue support. Old filler and adhesive cleaned off with acetone on cotton wool swabs on satay sticks. Pieces bonded with HMG heatproof and waterproof adhesive (cellulose nitrate). Small holes filled with Polyfilla fine surface (calcium carbonate, polyvinyl acetate). Surface smoothed with fine sanding fabrics. Fine filled with Rustin's white polish (bleached shellac,ethanol,methanol) mixed with talc. Painted with Rustin's white polish (bleached shellac,ethanol,methanol) and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and Winsor and Newton fine dry artist's pigments (comp. variable) applied with a sable brush.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: ESA32140

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