This sculpture was discovered in 1933 in the Mexican town of Santa María de Uxpanapa, and since then it has been considered one of the great sculptural works of thepreclassic cultures of Mexico, specifically the Olmec Culture. And today it is one of the many pre-Columbian treasures exhibited in the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico D.F.
The practical majority of researchers of that historical period consider that it is the representation of a fighter, however there are others who think that it is possibly the figure of a ball player, and that it would be in a characteristic posture to elbow a hard rubber ball and return it against the opponent, since it is believed that in that game, the solid ball could only be touched with elbows, knees and hips.
If we look at the figure, it is undeniable that the features somehow remind us of the Asian race. And the artist has been able to present him with his mustache and goatee, just as he has also dressed him in a single outfit. These are panties carved on her naked body with very soft incisions.
That the body is naked lets us see that at this historical moment, it is estimated that prior to the year 400 BC, the artistic trend had opted for a certain realism. In fact the anatomy of this body is treated with correctness andundoubtedly based on the observation of reality.
One of the great achievements of this work is that it is really conceived as a round shape, that is, it is worked equally in its 360 degrees so that it can be seen from any angle. However, there are areas that were worked with greater detail and different textures can be seen. For example, the face, the hands or the feet are carved with much more care, and that it must be taken into account that the work is made on a material as hard as bas alt stone.
On the contrary, there are areas such as the chest or the belly that are based on less detail and more innuendo. However, that does not detract from its merit, since it is very noteworthy that precisely in that area the concept of emptiness is incorporated as one more element of the aesthetic discourse of sculpture.
Actually, we can consider that it is a work quite ahead of its time. It is at the same time very simple, but it transmits an enormous mastery, knowing how to condense and synthesize the forms of the most natural model.