ELONGATED FEMALE FIGURES
COLORS incorporated in this artwork are ground clay, black, grays, azul lago, and dirt from Chimayo , New Mexico . The dirt came from El Posito, the “sacred sand pit” from which the crucifix of El Santuario de Chimayo originally came from. The pit is located in the Prayer Room, located in the sacristy of the adobe church. It has curative powers, which can be attested to by all the discarded crutches, pictures and stories hanging within the small chapel. Prehistoric Indians also held the land sacred.
BACKGROUND is eggshell.
TEXTURING is smooth to the touch but accented by visible anomalies in the gypsum. The five figures are encircled by thickly applied gypsum, capturing the motion of the figures.
SIZE is 12 ½”H x 15”W
CULTURAL INSPIRATION: These delicately rendered and sensuously drawn figures are referred to as “Mountford figures” for the man who lead the Australian American Scientific Expedition into Arnhem Land in 1948—Mr. Charles Percy Mountford. This expedition was sponsored by the National Geographic Society and The Smithsonian Institute in co-operation with the Commonwealth of Australia . It included scientists and naturalists who traveled to Groote Eylandt , Yirrkala, Milingimbi and Kunbarlanja (Oenpelli) mission settlements. The majority of rock art in this region is male-related, showing implements and weapons. Although the Mountford figure style have many examples of the female gender, their widespread legs and elongated bodies wear no form of dress or decoration. This five figure composition may be representative of a dance or ritual movement, their posture in graceful motion exhibiting rhythm. Notice that all five of these exquisite figures display only one arm, with the exception of the middle figure, which displays both arms, one extended above the head. Of added interest to this composition is the stylized hair (believed to be represented by the arched lines above the head).