Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Jalisco, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A skillfully hand-built and modeled ceramic figure depicting a seated woman. Nude with delineated breasts, buttocks, and female genitalia her body presents with a characteristically wide torso, a visible spine, slender arms with hands placed upon her abdomen, shoulder pellets, and attenuated legs bent at the knees. Her visage is comprised of coffee bean shaped eyes, a relatively naturalistic nose, pursed lips, pierced ears presumably for suspending ornaments perhaps made from bird feathers shells, and a cap-like coiffure. A wonderful figure who sits upon bent legs and two conical supports behind them. Size: 8.5" W x 17.125" H (21.6 cm x 43.5 cm)
Ancient West Mexico was home to a highly sophisticated culture that constructed earth mounds, ritual circles, and shaft tombs; most of what we know of them archaeologically comes from the figures, like this one, that were buried in their shaft tombs. However, there are clear differences between the Jalisco and other traditions (Colima and Nayarit) of shaft tomb builders and today we do not believe that they were a single unified culture, despite their shared architectural traditions. Jalisco pieces like this one are distinguished by seated positions for their female figures and their large size. These figures would have been positioned facing outward from the walls of graves, as if in conversation with the dead.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection acquired before 2000
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Repaired from multiple pieces, with restoration to some areas of body and upper chest, small chips in some areas, and resurfacing with overpainting along new material and most break lines. Abrasions and light encrustations to limbs, stool legs, body, and head, with fading to pigmentation, and encrustations within some recessed areas. Nice remains of original pigment and earthen deposits throughout.