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Inspiring Art: The Dumbarton Oaks Birthing Figure

Upcoming Museum Exhibition, June 27, 2013 through March 2, 2014
Inspiring Art: The Dumbarton Oaks Birthing Figure

Image: Birthing Figure, Aztec-style, probably 19th-century, aplite, PC.B.071.

An Aztec-style birthing figure in the Dumbarton Oaks collection has incited fascination and controversy for over a century. Celebrated as a masterpiece, touted by some as an icon of Aztec sculpture, maligned by others as a fake, it has provided inspiration to successive generations of artists, filmmakers, and other creative spirits. Featuring a variety of photographic and other reproductions, this exhibition illustrates one object’s powerful hold on the human imagination—and traces a century of changing perceptions of Pre-Columbian art.

Of note: A famous re-incarnation of the Birthing Figure is the golden idol in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones- Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dupont Festival presents a free screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Dupont Circle Park, Washington, D.C., at 8:30 pm on Friday, June 21, 2013. Miriam Doutriaux will give a short presentation on the Dumbarton Oaks Birthing Figure before the screening. For more information, see

Learn more and explore the Museum through the exhibition’s webpage.

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