Photo by the National Institute of Anthropology of Mexico via AP
MEXICO CITY – A replica of a mysterious pre-Hispanic sculpture of an indigenous woman was chosen on Tuesday to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus on Mexico City’s most important boulevard.
The statue was unearthed in January in the Huasteca region, near the Gulf of Mexico coast. She is known as “The Young Woman of Amajac”, after the village where she was found buried in a field. But no one really knows who the stone sculpture was supposed to represent.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History said at the time that the statue was similar to representations of a fertility goddess in Huastec culture. But archaeologists at the institute also said she may be part of the elite or ruling class.
The replica will be up to three times the size of the six-foot original, which is on display at the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. The city authorities decided that the statue of Christopher Columbus should be moved to a less important site and should be replaced by an indigenous woman because she had been under-represented.
The aesthetics of the replica will be a radical change from the statue of Columbus. “The Young Woman of Amajac” is pre-Hispanic in style with an open look as the colored stones that were probably originally inserted into her sockets have been lost.
Although there were other sculptures of Indigenous people on the city’s Reforma Boulevard, they were generally done in a neoclassical style that matched the ornate base of the ancient statue of Columbus, urns, and the like. boulevard sculptures.
“The young woman of Amajac” will be placed at the top of the original neoclassical base.
The statue of Christopher Columbus was supposedly removed last year for restoration, shortly before October 12, which Americans know as Columbus Day but Mexicans call “Dia de la Raza” or “Day of. the Race “- the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. in 1492. Demonstrators frequently targeted the statue of Columbus for graffiti protesting the brutal treatment of indigenous peoples.
But rather than the restoration, the head of the institute, Diego Prieto Hernández, admitted on Tuesday that the persistent threats against the statue of Christopher Columbus were the reason for the decision to move it to a quieter park in an upscale neighborhood where manifestations are rare.
“This was based, not on an ideological judgment of the character (Columbus), but rather because there was a need to retain the sculptural group, which, had it been left in place, would have been the target of threats and protests” , said Prieto Hernandez.