Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Jalisco, Protoclassic period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A hollow-built pottery female figure sitting upon folded legs and wearing a knee-length skirt. The highly-burnished figure rests with one arm held to her ankle and the other held against her distended abdomen beneath voluptuous breasts. Rounded shoulders boast several raised nodules indicative of ritual scarification and taper inwards towards a white-painted necklace. Her expressive visage is composed of a prominent nose with a dangling ring, full lips, perky ears adorned with shell earrings, and recessed eyes inset with white-painted pottery ovals. Traces of black, white, and orange pigment are scattered across the red-slipped exterior and imbue the figure with a personalized presentation evocative of ancient West Mexican artistry! Size: 8" W x 8.25" H (20.3 cm x 21 cm).
Clay figures like this one are the only remains that we have today of a sophisticated and unique culture in West Mexico. They made no above-ground monuments or sculptures, at least that we know of, which is in strong contrast to developments elsewhere in ancient Mesoamerica. Instead, 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. A large effigy like this one would most likely have flanked the entrance to a tomb in a way that archaeologists have interpreted as guarding. Some scholars have connected these dynamic sculptures of the living as a strong contrast to the skeletal remains whose space they shared, as if they mediated between the living and the dead.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private lifetime collection of Dr. Saul Tuttman and Dr. Gregory Siskind, New York, New York, USA
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Head and one foot reattached with small chips and light adhesive residue along break lines. Minor nicks and abrasions to feet, body, arms, and head, with fading and chips to areas of original pigmentation, and light encrustations within some recessed areas. Light earthen deposits, excellent mineral deposits, and great traces of original pigmentation throughout. Old inventory label on verso.