The Smile's Magic on the Gulf of Mexico
For more tan seventy-six years, the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) of Mexico has devoted its energies to recovering, researching, preserving, and disseminating Mexican archaeological, anthropological, historical, and paleontological patrimony in order tu strengthen the identity and memory of the cultural diversity of the Mexican nation. In October 2015 INAH produced a publication in Portuguese with a selection of terracotta smiling figurines. Research continued and the present volumen is the result of a splendid curatorial endeavor that gave rise to a rich exhibition as part of the efforts of the Ministry of Culture, through INAH, to spread awarenees of this remarkable wealth of Mexico’s patrimony representing the legacy of cultures and peoples tha shape our identity today. To celebrate this heritage, a selection of these magnificent clay pieces populary known as the “little similing faces” of Veracruz has been chosen por display. Commonly referred to as “little similing faces”, because in most cases only the heads of the efigies have been found, in reality they were conceived as complete anthropomorphic figures, whose bodies were lost perhaps as a result of their fragility or from their use in a rituals. Some are hollow and at times, they serve as musical instruments. Whatever their purpose, they are representations of men and women -almost always adults, occasionally children- created by ethnic groups that until a few decades ago were called Totonacs, and that are now generically referred to as Gulf Cultures, because experts now know tha the Gulf Coast of Mexico was a multicultural zone when these figurines were produced in the Classic period. Laughter, as a human expresión, is a universal display of emotion that does not solely express joy. Its interpretation can differ and vary depending on the period and the social group.