Masks and Time

I found a wonderful little book at the used books place yesterday: Mexican Art: From the Beginnings to the Olmecs, Bernard Noel, Tudor Publishing Co., New York, 1968. It has many fine plates that I find somehow more pleasing because they are presented in black and white. The one above is a Guerrero mask. The text is wonderful too. Here’s a bit I read to Cindy yesterday as one of those things that confirms aspects of her fine knowledge of Mexican time:

The pre-Classic period began with the expansion of agriculture; it was a formative period during which societies organized themselves and invented a religion, which became more and more complex. This religion was fundamentally a worship of time. All agricultural societies have more or less deified time, but the Mexicans refined infinitely on this conception. It was not an abstract entity for them; it was bound to space and with it formed a unique substance which went through an endless cycle of birth, growth, decline and rebirth according to the pulsation of a rhythm that man maintained but did not control. Without man, time would have perished, so man had both to understand and foster it.

6 thoughts on “Masks and Time

  1. Sheila Ryan

    I am going to look for a copy of this to buy online.

    And speaking of Olmec art, my visit to the Parque Museo La Venta in Villahermosa, Tabasco rates as one of my all-time transcendent aesthetic experiences. Go there if you possibly can.

    I didn’t learn a fucking thing, but I got shivers all up and down my spine.

  2. Sheila Ryan

    Also, hay algunos animales que andan en libertad, como venados, tejones y monos.

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