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Figure of a Seated Leader

A work made of terracotta.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of terracotta.


A.D. 300/600


Totonac, Remojadas
Veracruz, south-central Gulf Coast, Mexico

About this artwork

This naturalistic figure ranks among the finest works of the Remojadas sculptural tradition. The artist modeled the face of a youthful chieftain as an idealized type, yet there is also a sense of individual portraiture. Sitting cross-legged, with arms extended to the knees, the young ruler’s body conveys tension. He is elegantly dressed with an elaborate turban, belt, and skirt. The jewelry adorning his wrists and neck represents flowers, while the embroidery of the belt likely signals his rank and status.

Sophisticated clay technology was used to create this masterpiece. The head and neck were modeled separately and fitted into the top of the body, with soft clay added to smooth and strengthen the seam. The arms and legs were made of hollow tubes, while the flowers and belt ornaments were prepared from small bits of clay pressed to the moist surface. After the assembled figure completely dried, it was fired. The naturalistic rendition of the human form, close attention to human expression, and technological command of the material attest to a mature artistic tradition and an accomplished sculptor.


On View, Gallery 136


Arts of the Americas




Figure of a Seated Leader


Remojadas (Object made in)


300 CE–600 CE




78.7 × 75 cm (31 × 29.5 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Dittmer; Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment

Reference Number


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