Art History

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The coast of the Gulf of Mexico was inhabited between 250 and 500 C.E. Here, many different sculptures were created to represent different aspects of the people of that time. The Winged Bat Figure (fig. 1) is an example of this from a region of Mexico that is now known as Veracruz. The Winged Bat Figure shows how the people of Veracruz were a very mythologically-oriented society who created objects for situations that pertained to death and had funerary purposes.
This terracotta sculpture depicts a seated bat with its wings extended. It has oblong ears on its round face. The bat’s left ear is chipped while the right is very well intact. Its wide-set eyes are two dark, small circles. Beneath its left eye is a black diamond shaped marking. The center of its face is marked by a vertical indentation. The lips of this creature are large; so large that they protrude off its face. Its two front dull fangs are askew. The abdomen of the bat is shaped like the top half of a wine bottle and its neck is disproportional to the rest of its body; it is a fraction longer than it should be. Its tongue sticks out and ends at the part of its chest where the two decorative bands meet. Together, the bands form a shape that looks very similar to the bat’s tongue. Below these bands is a horizontal strap that separates this double band formation from the single band that covers the bat’s genital area. The bulbous decorative features on the top right and bottom left of each wing resemble blueberries. The wings are rhombus in form with a basic border and have shapes in the far top corners that look like keystones, or narrow trapezoids. Between the wings and the bat’s shoulders are disks that are decorated with a single button shape in each of their centers. The Winged Bat Figure is standing but this position is supported by what looks like a tail but can possibly double as a...

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