The finely-carved gourd was created to celebrate the liberation of New Spain (now Mexico) from Spanish rule.
Speaking about the acquisition, Jonathan Coulborn said:
“The carefully-chosen symbols and satirical imagery of this composition celebrate the triumph of Mesoamerica and the pre-Columbian cultures of this region over Spain’s conquistadores. The main figure has taken control of the horse (which had been a symbol of the Spanish), and the broken sceptre of Imperial power lies at his feet. The triumphant, obviously Aztec ‘archangel’ also mocks the traditions of the vanquished conquistador.”
Ronda Kasl, Curator of Latin American Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art said:
“This newly-acquired gourd bowl commemorates Mexican independence from Spain in 1821. It joins a small group of recently-acquired artworks from postcolonial Mexico and exemplifies not only an important and culturally distinctive artistic tradition but articulates a popular discourse that helped shape a new national identity.”
Read more about the Gourd here.