From our team here at NGV, we would like to express our very best wishes to our community at this time. We are currently closed to the public and will reopen on Saturday, 27 June, 2020.

In line with Victorian Chief Health Officer’s guidance, the NGV will implement a variety of public health and physical distancing measures including free timed ticketing, appropriate queue management and increased deep cleaning of facilities, as well as increased hand sanitiser stations.

We encourage you to continue to visit our website and follow #NGVEveryDay on social media for updates on our reopening and daily inspiration.

We are very grateful for the loyalty of the NGV community and look forward to welcoming you back soon.


Colima, West Mexico Mask

Colima, West Mexico
Mask 400 BCE-200 BCE

In very rare instances elite burials in West Mexico involved stone masks that have been stylistically linked to Colima. These special objects for burial, fashioned out of materials traded over long distances, stand out among the large numbers of ceramic vessels and hollow figures placed in shaft-chamber tombs to accompany the deceased to the afterlife.

This mask, originally from the Jay C. Leff collection, displays features that recur in the clay masks of Colima – notably its round shape and eyebrow ridges – but only very few stone masks from Colima are known. The sharpish nose, perforated eyes permitting vision and stylised features suggest that it may be a regional offshoot from the Guerrero-Chontal tradition. The features are stylised into simple geometric forms: the round eyes and rectangular mouth form cavities in the circular face, and the horizontal projecting eyebrow ridge and vertical nose form a dramatic ‘T’ shape which unifies the composition.