Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic Period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A hand-built redware pottery vessel depicting an attractive dog with stone-burnished surfaces that create a reflective luster. The charming canine presents with a portly abdomen and extended forelegs, rounded hind legs with narrow feet, a puffed-out chest, and a thick tail curling off the posterior. The alert head is proudly raised with incised features like almond-shaped eyes as well as petite nostrils and a thin mouth in front of the snout, as well as a pair of perky ears flank the cylindrical spout projecting from the center. Size: 12.25" L x 6.375" W x 12.1" H (31.1 cm x 16.2 cm x 30.7 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.
For a similar example, though without a head spout, please see the Minneapolis Institute of Art, accession number 99.57.3
Another example of a similar form hammered for $4,800 at Christie's, New York "Fine Pre Columbian Art" auction (sale 1775, November 21, 2006, lot 147)
Provenance: ex-Barakat Gallery, Beverly Hills, California, USA, acquired prior to 2000
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Minor abrasions to legs, body, and head, with a few stable hairline fissures, and light encrustations within some incised facial features, otherwise intact and excellent. Great remains of pigment throughout.