Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. An adorable and highly-burnished ceramic dog vessel, finely-molded in lustrous redware and standing proudly on all fours - presenting an attractive two-tone finish with a saturated red slip adorning the tail and a tawny orange-red slip on the rest of the body. The canine has a plump abdomen with a large cylindrical spout for a tail, with perky ears, coffee-bean-shaped eyes, and a wide nose comprising its roughly triangular head. The dog holds an ear of corn in its mouth, perhaps as a means of fattening it up for later consumption. A wonderful example that is finely constructed and full of character! Size: 7.125" L x 3.25" W x 4.5" H (18.1 cm x 8.3 cm x 11.4 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 Mexican Hairless also known as the Xoloitzcuintle. The Xolo dog was named for the deity Xolotl, the God of the Underworld, and 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 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA collection, collected between 1950 and 1965, thence acquired by current owner via family descent
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Restoration to one ear. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, light roughness on body, tail, and feet, with very minor nicks to tail, legs, and head, and some fading to slip coloration. Light earthen deposits and nice mineral deposits throughout.