Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. Well-depicted, seated terracotta "Smoking Figure". He is shown with braided coiffure, wearing ornate ear, necklace, and nose decoration, all of which are carved in excellent detail on all sides of the sculpture. The wide hips and ample buttocks of the figure perhaps indicate that it is meant to be female. Size: 5.25" L x 5" W x 9.1" H (13.3 cm x 12.7 cm x 23.1 cm)
The short stem she is smoking may depict rolled tobacco (in the form of a cigar) or a smoking tube containing a substance being smoked. Smoking was not merely a recreational pursuit in Pre-Columbian cultures, but was performed by shamans for ritual and/or ceremonial purposes. It is known from ethnographic data that shamans would blow smoke over individuals in curing ceremonies, and in other contexts to symbolically produce clouds for rain. Shamans also smoked substances to induce altered states of consciousness, important in their mediation between the seen and unseen realms.
Provenance: Ex-private Harvey Collection, acquired prior to 1972
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One leg has been reattached and head has been repaired, but repairs are well done and difficult to see. With fine manganese deposits and encrustation in some areas.