**Originally Listed At $850**
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Jalisco, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A hand-built and highly-burnished male figure presented with deep red slip atop a pale-orange ground. The figure sits with crossed legs and delineated genitalia, holds both sinuous arms to his knees, and wears a broad sash adorned with elaborate linear motifs across his broad chest. His characteristically-elongated head boasts coffee-bean-shaped eyes, a prominent crested nose with a petite ring, a thin mouth, and a trio of earrings on each ear. The forehead bears a slight lateral groove and is wrapped with a simple head band. Size: 5.25" W x 7.875" H (13.3 cm x 20 cm)
Clay figures like this example are the only remains that we have today of this sophisticated and unique culture in West Mexico -- they made no above-ground monuments or sculptures, at least that we know of, which is in stark contrast to developments elsewhere in ancient Mesoamerica. Instead, they developed a widely-used method of burial known as shaft tombs.
The dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through tepetate, 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. Their tombs were their lasting works of art: skeletons arrayed radially with their feet positioned inward, and clay offerings, like this one, placed alongside the walls facing inward, near the skulls.
Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles, California, USA collection, acquired in the 1980's
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Right arm and leg reattached with nearly-invisible restoration and resurfacing along break lines. Minor abrasions to limbs, body, and head, with fading to original pigmentation. Light earthen deposits and manganese blooms throughout.