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Aztec style, Late Postclassic
19th Century
18.1 cm x 9.21 cm x 13.34 cm (7 1/8 in. x 3 5/8 in. x 5 1/4 in.)

On view


This rabbit sculpture rests on its haunches with its paws upraised, framing the lower part of its face. It has large round eyes with rough centers, and deeply sculpted ears that lie back against the head and the curve of the upper back. Its broad belt has a design of alternating skulls and crossbones. Protruding from its abdomen is a bird head with large round eyes with roughened centers. The bird’s open beak reveals a human face in high relief, interpreted by some scholars as a warrior wearing an eagle helmet.

As subjects of Aztec sculpture in the round, rabbits are unusual and scarce in surveys of Aztec sculpture; most occur in bas relief, and are dated. This sculpture “has the slightly irregular surface modeling often found on greenstone carving, which makes it appear lively rather than rigid” (Pasztory 1983:253). The artist has not made an entirely symmetrical rendering, but has worked with the somewhat uneven character of the stone.

1958 A Collection of Pre-Columbian Fine Art. Natural History LXVII (3). p. 315.

1961. Art News 59. p. 30.

Alcina Franch, José 1979 Die Kunst Des Alten Amerika. Grosse Epochen Der Weltkunst. Ars Antiqua. Herder, Freiburg. fig. 309.

Alcina Franch, José, Miguel León Portilla and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma 1992 Azteca Mexica. Colección Encuentros. Serie Catálogos. Lunwerg Editores, Barcelona. p. 84, pl. XIV.

Benson, Elizabeth P. 1963 Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 23-4, cat. 110.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1957 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, New York. p. 241-42, cat. 53, la,. XXXVIII-XXXIX.

Christensen, Erwin Ottomar 1955 Primitive Art. Bonanza Books, New York. p. 209, 241, fig. 197.

Cleveland Museum of Art 1946 Art of the Americas: A Special Exhibition Held in the Museum from Nov. 8, 1945 through Jan. 6, 1946. Its Picture Book No.2. Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. Picture book no. 2: 20.

Covarrubias, Miguel 1957 Indian Art of Mexico and Central America. 1st ed. Knopf, New York. pl. LXII.

Davies, Nigel 1983 The Ancient Kingdoms of Mexico. Pelican Books. Penguin Books, New York. fig. 28.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 1940 An Exhibition of Pre-Columbian Art. January 15 through February 10, Arranged by the Peabody Museum and the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., cat. 32.

Gump, Richard 1962 Jade: Stone of Heaven. Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., p. 186, pl. 18.

Krickeberg, Walter 1969 Felsbilder Mexicos Als Historische, Religiose Und Kundstdenmaler. Verlag von Dietrich Reimer, Berlin. p. 101, cat. 61, pl. XXVII.

Kubler, George 1984 Ancient American Gods and Their Living Impersonators. Apollo CXIX (266):10-20. p. 13-15, pl. 1, fig. 6.

Liljevalchs, konsthall 1952 Mexikansk Konst Från Forntid Till Nutid : [Utställning] Stockholm 1952, Liljevalchs Konsthall. Katalog ; Nr. 201. Liljevalchs konsthall, Stockholm. cat. 665g.

Mason, J. Alden 1958 Pre-Columbian Art. Archaeology 11 (2):123-4.

Musée National d'Art Moderne 1952 Art Mexicain Du Précolombien Á Nos Jours. 2. éd. rev. et corr. ed. 2 v. vols. Presses artistiques, Paris. cat. 622.

Olivier, Guilhem 2006 The Sacred Bundles and the Coronation of the Aztec King in Mexico-Tenochtitlan. In Sacred Bundles: Ritual Acts of Wrapping and Binding in Mesoamerica, Julia Guernsey and F. Kent Reilly, eds., pp. 199-225. vol. Ancient America, Special Publication No. 1 Boundary End Archaeology Research Center, Barnardsville, N.C., fig. 11 (line and stipled drawing, after Pasztory 1983:pl.45).

Pasztory, Esther 1983 Aztec Art. Abrams, New York. p. 253-254, pl. 45.

Rivet, Paul and Gisèle Freund 1954 Mexique Précolombien. Collection Des Ides Photographiques ; 8. Éditions Ides et calendes, Neuchâtel. pl. 71.

Soustelle, Jacques 1967 Mexico. Archaeologia Mundi. Nagel, Geneva. p. 233, fig. 159.

Vaillant, George Clapp 1962 Aztecs of Mexico: Origin, Rise, and Fall of the Aztec Nation. Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., pl. 58.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 1961 A Brief Chronicle of the 25th Birthday Celebration and Catalogue of the Anniversary Loan Exhibition, Treasures in America, at the Museum from January 13 to March 5 of 1961. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. p. 92.

Von Hagen, Victor Wolfgang 1961 The Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas: Aztec, Maya, Inca. [1st ] ed. World Pub. Co., Cleveland,. pl. 1.

Werness, Hope B. 2004 The Continuum Encyclopedia of Animal Symbolism in Art. Continuum, New York. p. 340.

Westheim, Paul 1977 Obras Maestras Del México Antiguo. Biblioteca Era. Serie Mayor. Ediciones Era, México, D.F., pl. 113.

Exhibition History
"An Exhibition of Pre-Columbian Art", Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, 1/15 - 3/2/1940 (catalogue # 32 "Lent by Joseph Brummer”).

"Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art,", Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 1940.

"Art of the Americas", The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, 11/8/1945 - 1/6/1946 ("Lent by the Brummer gallery, Inc.").

"Art méxicain du précolombien à nos jours", Musée National d 'art Moderne, Paris, France, 5/9 - 7/30/1952 (catalogue # 622).

"Mexikansk Konst fran Forntid till Nutid", Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden, 1952 (catalogue # 665).

"Treasures in America", The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1/13 - 3/6/1962 (catalogue p. 92).

"Indigenous Art of the Americas", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, May 1948 to July 1962.

"Azteca Mexica, Las Culturas del Mexico Antiguo", Museo de America, Madrid, 1992.

Acquisition History
Formerly in the collection of Augusto Vallejo Leal

Purchased from Augusto Vallejo Leal by Joseph Brummer (dealer), May 14, 1938.

Joseph Brummer Gallery, New York, 1938-1947.

Purchased from Ernest Brummer, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, June 17, 1947.

Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1947-1962.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.

Aztecs | Eagles