Impressive at almost 4″ tall this mid-20th c. Los Castillo Mexican mixed metals and azur-malachite brooch incorporates an ancient, pre-Colombian clay mask. The use of Aztec or Maya artifacts in vintage jewelry in Mexico was not unusual – after all well into the 20th c. it was not illegal to hold one’s own archeological dig in the country. William Spratling, Fred Davis and many in their coterie did, if fact, engage in such activities as well as frequent Sunday markets where campesinos would sell antique pieces unearthed in the fields. In the brooch at hand, the mask is held onto a stylized upper body made of copper, brass and alpaca with a richly colored azur-malachite inlay. The maestro responsible for its creation took care not to damage the mask which is secured against its background with big prongs wrapping around its pronounced ears like earrings. Before I leave the photos to tell the rest of the story, I would like to draw your attention to the way the raised areas of the ancient face glisten after having been rubbed by who knows how many hands…
Size/Weight: 7″ inner circumference (clasped); width between 1″ and 1/2″; clamshell applique at center front is 1 5/8″ square; 87.4 grams
Hallmarks / Date: maker’s signature as shown as well as “”HECHO EN MEXICO D.F.” and “STERLING 925”; 1940s
Condition: excellent vintage with a gorgeous polished obsidian stone and great patina
SOLD – Thank you!