Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A charming example of one of the most famous artifacts of early western Mexico, a hand-built pottery dog vessel that is highly burnished and covered in a deep red slip. The rotund canine sits on his hind legs as his front legs hold up the upper half of his bulbous body. Topped with a flared spout, the adorable creature's head features a pair of incised, coffee-bean shaped eyes, a projecting snout with clearly delineated nostrils, and an open-mouthed grin, displaying a row of teeth and four prominent, pointed fangs. Two sizable round ears flank his head, while a raised spinal bone runs down his body, starting between his shoulder blades and ending at his petite, wagging tail. Size: 6.625" W x 9.375" H (16.8 cm x 23.8 cm)
Scholars know of at least two types of Colima dogs, one to be fattened up and ritually sacrificed or eaten and one to serve as a watchdog and healer of the ill. This plump hairless canine, known as a Chichi or Escuintla, is thought to be related to the Chihuahua or the Mexican Hairless also known as the Xoloitzcuintle. The Xoloitzcuintle was named for the deity Xolotl, the God of the Underworld, and was believed to guide the deceased as they journeyed to the afterlife. Colima vessels such as this one were buried in shaft tombs to protect the deceased and provide sustenance for eternity.
Provenance: private Saint Lucie, Florida, USA collection; ex-Artemis Gallery, Louisville, Colorado, USA; ex- private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection, acquired by descent from the owner's father, collection between 1950 to 1990
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Collection label on base. Minor repairs to areas of ears and rim, with possible restoration from new material. Expected surface wear commensurate with age. Otherwise, excellent with impressive remaining pigments.