Arqueologia Mexicana - La magia de la risa y el juego

Las culturas prehispánicas de la costa del Golfo de México
por Dr. Rubén B. Morante López (fragmento)

Mesoamerica is both an ecological and cultural area which comprises almost all of Central America and about a half of the Mexican country. It's a soil apt to be cultivated, bound to the north by the desert areas and to the south by the once impenetrable Darién Jungles. Though flourishing at different times during the pre-Columbian era, five different cultures have been outstanding –the one situated in the West of Mexico; another one in the Center of Mexico, Oaxaca; the Maya area, and that on the Coast of the Mexican Gulf. We will deal with the last one in particular. This area was, for over three thousand years, a territory where many local cultures flourished. We shall mention the Olmeca one, the one in the southern center of Veracruz, that of the northern center of Veracruz, and the Huaxteca one. Each shall be briefly dealt with in the following paragraphs.


Laugh and games: their magic in prehispanic veracruz
One of the most outstanding aspects of the pre-historic past of Veracruz can be found in some figurines or smiling small faces, real masterpieces that represent the act of laughing. The expressions and diversity related to smiling, as shown in these works, placed them in the history of universal art. Octavio Paz (1971, 17) had already stated that: “...the rich variety of smiling expressions knows no parallel in the entire history of fine arts”. The headpieces of the characters portrayed show a rich variety of motives in which a message can be read –this is one related to the specific viewpoint in the conception of the world and the religious spirit these ancient peoples in the western part of Mexico possessed before the coming of the Spanish conquerors.

The playfulness of the act of smiling as depicted in these works is complemented in the Mexican Gulf coasts with the existence of toys and objects where scenes of characters playing are recreated. The natural act of laughing appears in these art pieces as something which transcends what is merely human. In fact, it is an attitude revealing those primitive feelings that have prevailed throughout the stages of history and are common to all men. And even so, the value and meaning assigned by each society to the act of laughing varies and needs to be seen within context set in time and space.

Even when Octavio Paz (1971, 15) mentions the breach between the Olmeca people and the subsequent sculptors of smiling images, the apparent origin of the artistic representation of laugh in America should be found in the early sculptures –in particular, the Cabeza Colosal 9 (Gigantic Head) in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, Veracruz– dated between 1200 to 900 B.C.

Alfonso Medellín (see Paz, 1971, 41) states that by the early 1950s over a hundred samples of smiling sculptures were publicly known, and these came from the sub-cultural area he has designated Rio Blanco-Papaloapan. It was in 1050 that he made his first findings in situ , in Remojadas, Veracruz. After that, he learned about other sites, Los Cerros and Dicha Tuerta, which he explored in 1953, and Nopiloa (1957-58). He found over 1500 figurines of the kind which he later took to the Museo de Antropología, in Xalapa.

In 1972 there was a new finding in El Zapotal (Torres et al., 1973) and he learned about it because there had also been previous plundering of the site. This place was one with scores of secondary burials and many of them were surrounded by smiling figurines. More recently (Archaeologist Fernando Mirando, personal comment, June 1997) more smiling figures have been found in the Atoyac river, near its source. The nearest archaeological site is that of Toro Prieto and it has been dated as belonging to the Late Classical period. As it happened with other objects, such as yokes and vessels, the smiling figures were thrown into the water as offerings. As to the time they were carved, all the archeological sites point to the same period, the Late Classical, that is (600 to 900 A.D.) This meant the acme of art and culture in the sub-region of south central Veracruz and consequently this explains why a great number of art pieces of all kinds and of the best quality were produced during this period.


The artisans
When we examine those smiling figures whose origin is clear, we are able to see there are noticeable changes in style. These correspond not only to the time they were made but also to a certain cultural area within the region we have marked as producer of those sculptures.


Body alterations
The alteration of the teeth is visible in some “sonrientes”. And when this was so, it was of the A4 or the B4 type. Over a 90% of the displayed samples show an alteration of the A4 type and this means the filing of both the upper and lower lateral incisors and the canines, so as to set off the central incisors. Even when all the smiling figures show skull alteration, this can vary. For the major part, there is the slanting tabular deformation. However, in some cases, the head seems to have undergone a straight tabular deformation. And there are fewer samples which exhibit the type called “zapotal” –a deformation that appears in those smiling figures that lie on the so-called “deformation beds” (these were beds to which infants were tied to and, through the use of bands, were meant to keep the child's head pressed to the beams). The tabular deformation was achieved through the use of boards on the two areas of compression: an anterior one, stuck to the frontal bone and a posterior one, stuck partially (for an erect deformation) or totally (for a slanting deformation) to the occipital bone. Between these compression elements, the parietal and the temporal bones were deformed, thus causing a head characterized by its wide and flat shape.


The headpieces
Medellín (1986) established a typology of “sonrientes” using their headpieces as a basis. Having a great number of “cabezas sonrientes” (smiling heads) separated from their bodies and all of them with similar physical features, it is not strange that he focused in the rich variety of headpieces. This is, then, the most important and widely used of any of the classifications ever made regarding these figurines. There are smiling figures that have no headpiece on, they exhibit a bald head or this has only one of two tufts –Medellin has classified them as “tipo liso” (plain, unadorned type). The existence of these plain heads led us to realize their headpieces was perfectly adapted to the shape of the heads. In our opinion, headpieces can be of seven types:


Plain. This is the simplest kind of headpiece since it is un-patterned –even when some have a few small holes that might have been used to stud elements such as feathers or hairs.

With tufts . Even when the tufts of hair are combined with other headpieces and are always present in the smiling women, there are plain headpieces that have some isolated tuft (even in the case of masculine figures). Tufts of hair can be found either in pairs or alone.

Intertwined. This is two intertwined bands. This headpiece is most common among the “sonrientes”. This is no strange fact since during the Classical period, the symbol of the intertwines was very popular in all the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The most common variant is named “lateral geometric” by Medellín (1987, 102). In fact, he finds there are three subtypes –one has a vertical sign, the second has a horizontal sign, and the third is combined with the shape of a pelican. Besides all this, we find a wide variety of intertwines in the headpieces of the “sonrientes”, and some of them are remarkably smart.

With small rods or sticks. This is the second commonest symbol in the ornamentation of the “sonrientes”. Medellín (1987, 101) finds 7 subtypes though he does not define them. The style he himself (p 118) defines as decadent and names it “Dicha Tuerta” has, between the “beaks”, a small rod in the headpiece.

Geometric . Two symbols are essentially important in this headpiece –the Xicalcoliuhqui and the double volute (Medellín 1987, 117). The double volute could be taken for the double rod, yet in this case we have linked volutes. The Xicalcoliuhqui appears also in an inverted position.

Zoomorphic . No doubt the most attractive headpieces are those that have animal

shapes such as monkeys, herons, pelicans, fish, tadpoles, sauria, and snakes. Some of them show scenes where the birds are catching fish or tadpoles, others show monkeys sacrificed through the plucking out of their hearts.

Anthropomorphic. Men appear in only one type of headpiece. Their profiles, as part of complex mythical scenes, are combined with several snake heads, intertwines, and vegetal signs.

As regards clothing, the most typical array for men is the maxtlatl . There is also a very original piece Medellín (1987, 89) calls “ chest belt” and this he considered was exclusively used by men. Women wore skirts, “enredos”, huipil and quechquemitl. Over a 90% of the smiling sculptures we studied are either heads or bodies –a fact that prevented us from making the right matches. Generally, gender can be told out of the bodies. However, gender can apparently be determined in the case of the smiling heads through the hairstyles of men and women. Children and men are represented without hair and their heads look semi-triangular. Women, on the other hand, are shown with two long tufts of hair on both sides, and this makes their head look a bit rectangular. A number of elements were meant both for men and women: earpieces, bracelets, ankle rings, and necklaces. All the images are barefooted. Earpieces may be in the shape of rings, volutes, petals, flowers or just like a piercing to wear a drop earring.


Portraits or physical stereotypes
A great number of the “sonrientes” have a straight, thin nose, thin lips, a small mouth, slanting eyes, protruding cheeks, and an angled chin. Even when their pupils are not represented, we infer these people were cross-eyed. Few obese individuals are represented. Skull deformation and teeth alteration play an essential role in the “sonrientes”. These undoubtedly are physical stereotypes that had a very particular conception of beauty. Of course there are figures imbued of great individualism –in fact some scholars like Spinden (1922) conside­red them to be por­traits, ha­ving in mind the di­ver­sity of head­pie­ces and phy­si­cal fea­tu­res they pre­sent. Sub­se­quent ex­plo­ra­tion re­vea­led en­ti­re works­hops whe­re they we­re fa­bri­ca­ted using moulds. Within the repeated models, we find many different physical types, though they are all in the same pattern. Some artists tried to differentiate their work adding personal elements that denote great creativity. They did it on the cast figures, using clay paste for the garments and paint for body and face. These terra cotta images must also be noted for the richness and the variety of their smiling.


Men, gods, and semi-gods
Octavio Paz (1971, 17) holds laugh is both human and divine. The “sonrientes” are “ Dancing creatures who seem to celebrate the sun and incipient nature... ” and they are also associated to deities who later, in the Al­ti­pla­no, will be ca­lled Xo­chi­pi­llio (1 Flo­wer) and Ma­cuil­xó­chitl (5 Flower). Doris Heiden (1970, 61) maintains that “... the sonrientes were meant to represent likenesses of the gods rather than the gods themselves ”. Some “sonrientes” clearly show images of everyday life –women carrying babies and babies toddling or lying in bed. In this sense, we cannot give them a divine character. But what really counts is they give us images of daily life, as we have a clear allusion to deities and even the presence of one or two deities smiling –these are Tlaloc and Xipe Totec. The re­fe­ren­ce to Ma­cuil­xó­chitl-Xo­chi­pi­lli sig­na­led by Me­de­llín (1987,97) we deem un­de­nia­ble.


Laugh is difficult to speak of since it is a dual gesture. Concepts like underworld and evil will always be complex to grasp in the Mesoamerican peoples since they do not correspond with the western concepts. I believe that the open smile in the “sonrientes” cannot be referred to an evil aspect or that their slight smile has to do with kindness. Both are present in these figures and there is no specific context for each kind of laugh. Both are related to the pre-Hispanic under world and this has nothing to do with Christian hell. Death itself, in the context of the “sonrientes” does not necessarily purport the ominous character the western culture assigns to it.







Una cabeza olmeca en Buenos Aires: opciones del patrimonio 
por Josè Antonio Pèrez Gollán

What we call ‘a work of art’ –a wrong name mainly if referred to those works of ancient civilizations– isn’t but a configuration of signs. Spectators are able to combine those signs at will, and every combination will then result in a different meaning.”
Octavio Paz

Perhaps the colossal Olmeca heads carved in stone are, together with Frida Kahlo’s paintings and Diego Rivera’s mural paintings, one of the most popular icons in Mexican art. The exhibition La magia de la risa y el juego (The magic of laugh and game) in the halls of Fundacion Proa will show, for the first time ever in South America, an Olmeca stone head together with a series of hand made pottery items –the ones called caras sonrientes (smiling faces) as well as some toys. All the pieces in display come from what is now the State of Veracruz, in Mexico and show certain continuity in terms of their chronological development.

There are several reasons for me to concentrate on the colossal Olmeca head. One of them, though not the most important, is connected to the fact I’m an archaeologist. Another one is the curiosity I feel for art when this is related to social processes. One more reason, the last, is my position as head of a university museum of anthropology.

In this exhibition, the Olmeca culture is represented by a gigantic stone head (that identified under Number Nine) which was accidentally found by a peasant near San Lorenzo (Veracruz) in 1982. There are seventeen such heads known to this day –ten come from San Lorenzo, four from La Venta, two from Tres Zapotes and one from Cobata. The samples coming from each of these places have a style of their own. Almost all of them have been somehow mutilated in ancient times –maybe due to political purposes.

The first finding of a stone head ever was that made by José Melgar in 1862 and the news was published in the Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografía y Estadística (1896). But it was Mathew Stirling who in 1936 started a systematic contemporary archaeological investigation in the Olmeca region. His work took several decades and had a notable influence on the archaeology of the American continent. On the other hand, Miguel Covarrubias –a Mexican painter, drawer and illustrator– played, during the 1940s and 50s, a most important role in the valuation of the surprising and remote Olmeca artistic manifestations.

In 1946 he stated in his book El Sur de México: “It all seems to indicate that a mysterious race of extraordinary artists lived since remote times in the Tehuantepec isthmus, mainly in the environs of Los Tuxtlas and the basin of the Coatzacoalcos river. There are archaeological treasures still hidden in the jungle and the rich lands south of Veracruz: grave mounds and funeral pyramids, colossal monuments masterfully carved in basalt, wonderful figurines made of axestone and others delicately modeled in clay. They are all of an artistic quality that knows no parallel. The inaccessible presence of a magnificent remote past in what now is the impenetrable, uninhabited jungle is an enigma and this grows even bigger since most contemporary anthropologists agree as to the fact many of these works of art date back to the beginnings of the Christian era. This culture that, out of the blue, appears in a state of full development, seems to have been the root, the origin of succeeding and better known cultures known as Maya, Totonaca, Zapoteca, etc.” From 1950 onwards the application of the new method of radiocarbon made it possible to establish with acceptable accuracy the age of the archaeological materials and this proved the Olmeca sculptures dated back to the second millennium B.C.

The geographic nucleus of the Olmeca culture is to be found in the southern part of the State of Veracruz and the neighboring area of Tabasco. The landscape there is a coastal plain with hillocks that gets easily flooded. The area is crossed by plentiful rivers –most of them navigable– and their mouths have created large deltas. This is the case of River Coatzacoalcos, for instance. The thick tropical jungle that used to cover this region has now disappeared due to modern agriculture and cattle raising as well as by the intensity of the oil drilling activity.

All the lithic objects –masks, colossal heads, thrones, steles, axes, statuettes, sculptures, etc.– were made by the Olmeca people only with the use of stone and wooden tools since metals were unknown to the Mesoamericans of those times. The general shape of the art pieces was attained with the use of stone instruments. They were perforated using a bow drill; sand or volcanic ashes were used to produce polished surfaces. One must also bear in mind the great amount of hand labor such a technique we now call Neolithic really demanded. This corresponds with the modes of organization of the task force in pre-industrial societies.

The raw materials came from distant regions: the green stone (axestone, jade, serpentine and others) used for luxury goods was brought from what is now the State of Guerrero (Mexico) or from the valley of river Motagua (Guatemala). As regards the colossal heads, these were carved out of volcanic rock: cobalt was used for those of La Venta, Tres Zapotes y Cobata while andesita was used for the ones from San Lorenzo. The huge rock blocks came from quarries that were a hundred or a hundred and fifty kilometers far from any of the spots they were going to be finally placed and most probably they were carried there on rafts along the rivers.

In the area the archaeologists have defined as Mesoamerica and on a date as early back as 2500 B.C. a new type of social organization with sedentary people devoted to agriculture grew in number until it constituted hamlets and villages. The ancient ways of living on hunting and fruit gathering were abandoned. This moment meant a multiplication of the number of equalitarian, independent communities that grew round their cultivation fields, profiting from seasonal rains, fertile soils and those lands flooded by the rivers annually.

Around 1200 B.C. and on the traditional basis, agriculture was improved in terms of new plants, more elaborate watering control techniques, and the building of terraces to avoid erosion and create artificial soils as well as the settlement of new productive areas. All this augmented the yielding of those lands. Some communities started an incipient specialized production and the circulation of raw materials, products and ideas was organized. But what is most notable is the surge, for the first time in aboriginal America, of hereditary social inequity. The circuits of exchange grew until they reached far off regions and became more complex. At the same time, the local elites started to spread luxury goods to increase and consolidate their reputation: polychrome pottery vases, hematite mirrors, powders and dyeings, skins, figurines, semiprecious stones, feathers, shells and conches. Now some lineages had an ancestry of mythical prestige and they used it to make their power grow. This enabled them to assume the hereditary representation of a community and made them, in particular, the mediators between men and supernatural forces.

There were and there are several hypotheses to explain the appearance of hereditary social inequity. These consider the differential access to resources, technological development, the coordination of irrigation works, the control over the exchange and re-distribution of goods of a highly symbolic meaning, the management of a complex ideological frame. In fact, one should view this issue as a concurrence of circumstances rather than finding a single detonating cause.

Around 1200 B.C. San Lorenzo became the largest and the most important Olmeca settlement. The population was ten times larger than any of the villages of that time. Being in the middle basin of the Coatzacoalcos, this people were in control of the traffic of goods and people through the fluvial network, and they also coordinated hand labor and the specialized local production. The original terrain was modified to create a sacred, monumental landscape. Large, wide terraces were built and such topographic alteration meant new dwelling spaces as well as an increase in production to meet the demands of a growing population. On the other hand, ritual spaces were built –these were low, staired truncate earthen platforms, often coated with red tinted sand. During this early moment of the Olmeca architecture there is no evidence of any square or pyramid of the type that later on were to become typical of ceremonial Mesoamerican centers.

We could inquire what really changed in San Lorenzo. The answer is to be found in the socio-political system: it became a line of ancestors, a lineage, and this was imposed as the ruling group –one which transmitted power as inheritance to its descendants. The early equalitarian and autonomic communities were replaced by a multi-communal society bound together by the structural principle of rank. In these societies lineages had different gradations (ranks) of prestige in relation to a common ancestor (quite often mythic or sacralized). One of these lineages kept to itself the hereditary right to play the political role of a chieftain –a kind of sacred character, a high priest to mediate between men and the gods, one who re-distributed the economic surplus coming as a tribute from the work or production of the community, coordinator of communal works, and –in some cases– owner of the lands. The chief or lord had a court, his activity was ruled by strict protocol and he was the main player in a complex public ritual.

The colossal heads were the representation of the chieftains or lords with their power attributes, the ancestors turned into stone that granted with their presence the legitimate and sacred character of the ruling governors. Apparently, the colossal heads in San Lorenzo were placed following two axis running from north to south in the central part of the site. The dominant theme in Olmeca monumental sculpture was that of adult men belonging to the governing class as represented in the colossal heads, the sitting characters and the thrones. Olmeca art is closely linked to the building of power during the emergence of the hereditary social inequity. This means the basin of river Coatzacoalcos was the starting point of aboriginal America on its way to civilization, the state and social classes. Once San Lorenzo’s prime was over, the axis was first moved to La Venta and then to Tres Zapotes. In 300 B.C. the Olmeca people and their art had already disappeared.

The exhibition of the colossal Olmeca head from San Lorenzo (Veracruz) in Fundación Proa brings about concepts other than those of an archaic art and their load of ideological meaning surrounding power at the dawn of an urban society. Exhibited now in the hall of a XIXth century building that was made into an art center, the Olmeca stone head takes on a new meaning within the categories of modern art and appears as an antecedent of Botero’s work or the sculptures by the Argentinean Claudio Barragán. Thus, in Buenos Aires, Head Number 9 becomes our contemporary. However, if exhibited in the context of a nationalistic XXth century museography, it serves to announce –from its pre-Columbine magnificence– the emancipation of peasantry as well as it props up that identity proposed by the national State.
After all, they are all options of heritage and they are valid as soon as each context creates its own observer and shapes the meanings.

Clark, John (coordinador). [1994]. Los olmecas en Mesoamerica. El Equilibrista y Turner Libros, Madrid-Mexico. Covarrubias, Miguel. 1980. El sur de Mexico. Instituto Nacional Indigenista. Mexico D. F. De la Fuente, Beatriz, 1975. La cabezas colosales olmecas. Fondo de Cultura Economica. México D. F. López Austin, Alfredo y Lopez Lujan, Leonardo. 1996. El pasado indigena. El Colegio de Mexico - Fondo de Cultura Economica. Mexico D. F. Paz, Octavio. 1994. El arte de Mexico: materia y sentido. Obras completas. Los privilegios de la vista II. Arte de Mexico; tomo 7. Fondo de Cultura Económica. Mexico D. F.







Entrevista al Dr. José Antonio Pérez Gollán, 2004 (fragmento)

¿Qué significa que venga una cabeza colosal a Buenos Aires?
Lo más trascendente para una muestra que está encarada desde el punto de vista del arte prehispánico, es la presencia en Buenos Aires de una cabeza colosal de la cultura olmeca. Nunca había llegado a Buenos Aires una cabeza olmeca y, más allá de ser un objeto arqueológico en sí mismo, tiene un valor estético muy importante. Estas piezas monumentales son únicas; es como encontrarse con La Gioconda.


¿Es una muestra histórica?
Esta no es una muestra histórica -no trata la cuestión de tiempo y lugar-, ya que en realidad está uniendo dos temas muy lejanos en el tiempo, pero que tienen como nexo la cuestión de la risa. Así, la muestra ofrece una visión poética de una realidad arqueológica.


¿Qué es la cultura Olmeca?
En términos arqueológicos, olmeca es el periodo Preclásico y en términos cronológicos quiere decir que vamos a ver en esta muestra piezas del 1200 a.C., proveniente de lo que se conoce en arqueología como Mesoamérica: que es la parte central de México, parte del sur, la península de Yucatán y parte de Centroamérica, en donde hubo una serie de interacciones con personalidad propia y que se desarrolló hasta la llegada de los españoles en el siglo XVI.
Estas culturas comparten por ejemplo, formas de economía, una escritura, un calendario, un panteón de dioses y comparten, por supuesto, una visión de la vida, con estas diferencias regionales. No es lo mismo la zona del Golfo de Veracruz, de donde vienen estas cabezas colosales y las caritas sonrientes, que la región del centro, que es la más conocida porque su última civilización fue la Azteca. Tampoco es igual Oaxaca que tiene otra historia pero comparte estos rasgos mesoamericanos, o la zona Maya que también es distinta aunque comparte este tipo de cultura indígena y que se remonta por lo menos al 1500 a.C. como inicio de la civilización. El poblamiento de Mesoamérica es mucho más antiguo (hay fechas del 20.000 a.C.) (…).


¿Por qué Octavio Paz trata el tema de la risa?
¿Qué quiere decir Octavio Paz? Creo que él especula sobre la sonrisa desde el punto de vista de la poesía, hace una serie de elucubraciones imposibles de corroborar. (…) El sentido profundo de esto es muy difícil de determinar porque no hay forma de reconstruirlo. (…) El escritor ofrece más bien un pensar sobre esas piezas desde la estética o desde la sensibilidad occidental. Desde el punto de vista arqueológico, lo del juego tiene una cuestión de interés. (…) Interesan sobremanera algunos de los elementos que conforman el juego: son animales con ruedas como para tirar. Sin embargo, por ejemplo, -y esto fue un descubrimiento muy importante- la rueda nunca se utilizó con fines económicos, para fabricar carros o para trasladar carga o personas. Simplemente, la rueda se utilizó como parte de un juego.


¿De donde provienen y qué significan las cabezas colosales?
El material de esta muestra viene del Estado Veracruz, en el centro de México en torno al Golfo de México y la cultura olmeca, su centro más importante, es una cultura que se asentó en un territorio de selva, de pantano. Estas cabezas colosales son de basalto y este material no se halla en el lugar donde se las encontró, esto significa que tuvieron que transportarlo a través de muchísimos kilómetros; desde la zona volcánica hasta, por ejemplo, San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán; que es la zona de la desembocadura del río Oaxaca.

Los primeros hallazgos datan de principios de siglo, pero es un hallazgo fortuito. En realidad, a partir de la década del Treinta se empieza a tratar sistemáticamente como problema arqueológico. En los años Cuarenta se avanza muchísimo en la investigación. Hay cerca de 18 cabezas (algunos hallazgos son recientes). La teoría que tiene más aceptación es que representan jefes: retratos de personajes que vivieron y tuvieron una jerarquía. Sin embargo, otra teoría sostiene que, efectivamente, son jefes pero que no perteneces a la vida real sino a un pasado mítico o, quizás, fueron personajes que en algún momento sobresalieron por haber realizado alguna hazaña. Como quiera que sea, tuvieron algún lugar de preeminencia y sus cabezas fueron esculpidas en piedra.

Todas las cabezas están mutiladas, en algún momento perdieron vigencia. A algunas cabezas las han roto con piedras y otras tienen marcas en la cara hechas con un taladro. Un taladro es una herramienta muy simple, es de madera y generalmente tiene una punta de piedra, se pone agua y arena. (…) Muchas de las cabezas fueron recuperadas de otros monumentos y estaban pintadas (…).


¿Cuál es el papel del arte en la región de Mesoamérica?
En Mesoamérica no existe el arte por el arte mismo, siempre tiene que ver con ritos, con motivos religiosos o míticos, con visiones del mundo. Es un arte lleno de metáforas. Son objetos que se construían con una finalidad práctica, ya sea para ser utilizadas en el ritual, para adquirir legitimidad o transmitir un mensaje religioso. No se construían como objeto de contemplación. Todo este arte estaba puesto al servicio de la información.

* Director del Museo Etnografico Juan B. Ambrosetti, perteneciente a la Facultad de Filosofia y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, y curador invitado de la exhibición La magia de la risa y el juego en el arte prehispanico de Veracruz, Mexico. Arqueologia mexicana, 1200 a.C. - 600 d.C.