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The Snite Museum of Art announces important acquisitions to its Mesoamerican collection
Ritual Performer Tripod Figures, 700–900 CE. Tres Zapotes IV culture, 600–950 CE. Veracruz, Mexico. Slipped and painted earthenware. 21 1/4 x 11 3/4 in. (53.98 x 29.85 cm) Gift of Mrs. William J. Gallagher Jr. 2020.010.002

NOTRE DAME, IN.- The Snite Museum of Art announces five gifts to the Museum’s distinguished Mesoamerican collection.

Mr. William. J. Gallagher Jr. ND’1950, was one of the original lenders of Pre-Columbian objects to the Snite Museum of Art when it opened its doors in the fall of 1980. These early loans from the Gallagher Family were foundational objects to the development of the Pre-Columbian and Mesoamerican collection during the Museum’s first years. All five gifts, four on long-term loan, will increase the number of works in their respective cultural groups in the collection.

William J. Gallagher Jr. passed away in the fall of 2017. His widow, Maureen Smith Gallagher, remarked that "Notre Dame was always central to my husband’s life, and he ended up becoming friends with Doug Bradley, the late curator of Mesoamerican art at the Snite Museum of Art. As a result of this friendship, Bill developed an interest in Mesoamerican culture and the Snite Museum of Art. I wish to honor my husband by donating these artifacts to the Snite Museum so that others can, likewise, gain an interest in and an understanding of not only Mesoamerican culture but also an appreciation of the fine collections at the Snite."

“We are honored by the longstanding support and thoughtfulness of the Gallagher family. Their contributions to our Mesoamerican collection and their desire to honor the Museum and its staff are deeply appreciated.” — Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Director, Snite Museum of Art

The donated objects are a Monte Alban IIIb Zapotec Goddess Effigy Urn, a Tres Zapotes IV Verzcruz Ritual Performer Tripod Figure, a Colima Tripod Olla, a Veracruz Tlazolteotl Priest Figure, and a Colima vessel in the shape of a pair of ducks.

Maize Goddess Effigy Urn, 500 BCE–700 CE. Monte Alban IIIb Zapotec culture, 500 BCE–700 CE. Oaxaca, Mexico. Earthenware, 13 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (34.29 x 23.5 x 21.59 cm) Gift of Mrs. William J. Gallagher Jr. 2020.010.001
The Zapotec culture’s main site, Monte Alban, produced a unique type of funerary furniture known as the effigy urn. These urns were depictions of gods or their attendants, not portraits of the deceased.

The Museum’s effigy urn depicts Pitao Cozobi, the maize goddess, identified here by a projecting curled buccal mask and comma-shaped attachments over her eyes. Feathers flare from the top of her elaborate headdress, with two downward-facing human profiles flanking it. The deity wears forward-facing ear flares, a large beaded necklace, a shawl and skirt with water symbols, and a large breast medallion.

Ritual Performer Tripod Figures, 700–900 CE. Tres Zapotes IV culture, 600–950 CE. Veracruz, Mexico. Slipped and painted earthenware. 21 1/4 x 11 3/4 in. (53.98 x 29.85 cm) Gift of Mrs. William J. Gallagher Jr. 2020.010.002
This creamware tripodal figure of a ritual performer—a dancer—wears a cowl with a hooded god face and a flared feather superstructure above and down either side to his knees. He has a mask with a flowing beard, ear flares, a skirt with a central longer panel, and a wide double rope belt. Traces of bitumen decorate the central panel.

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