**Originally Listed At $2000**
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic Period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A hollow, hand-built male pottery figure covered in red slip and standing upon stocky legs with incised toe lines and wide hips. The highly-burnished body and pubic region are adorned with incredibly-dense latticework motifs indicative of clothing, and a wide back flap is incised with horizontal stripes between smooth, unembellished panels. Rounded shoulders trace downward to thick arms adorned with incised ringlets, the right arm holding a small rattle, and the left raising a wide flute to the musician's mouth. The visage presents a prominent nose, slit-form eyes, and spool-adorned ears beneath a wide-brimmed hat with two densely-incised panels bisected by a thin striation. The sculpting of the mouth is exceptional as, in a characteristic flute-playing manner, the lips are pursed and the upper sticks out just further than the lower. An important example for its meticulously-incised patterns and naturalistic presentation. Size: 5.75" W x 10.625" H (14.6 cm x 27 cm).
Colima, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Nayarit. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through the volcanic tuff that makes up the geology of the region. The base of the shaft would open into one or more horizontal chambers with a low ceiling. These shafts were almost always dug beneath a dwelling, probably a family home, and seem to have been used as family mausoleums, housing the remains of many related individuals. This is a figure meant to be placed inside such a mausoleum, perhaps to entertain the spirits of the living and the dead and mediate their interactions.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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Repairs to hand with rattle as well as arm and part of flute with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. Minor nicks and abrasions to legs, body, arms, and head, with light softening to some areas of incised detailing, and fading to areas of pigmentation. Nice earthen and manganese deposits throughout.