May 11, 2011

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.


  1. Cindy Scroggins on May 11th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    “The religion was fundamentally a worship of time.”


  2. Daryl Scroggins on May 11th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I love the rubble of his chin.

  3. Cindy Scroggins on May 11th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Me, too. That mask is powerfully beautiful.

  4. Sheila Ryan on May 11th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    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.

  5. Sheila Ryan on May 11th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

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

  6. Kelsey Parker on May 12th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    This is a beautiful supplement to “Look what happened.”