Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A hand-modeled, rare example of a ceramic procession model, made to be placed into a shaft tomb. An elite personage sits atop a large litter with a semicircle covering topped by a spray of feathers protecting his or her head. The figure wears a large necklace, armbands, and headband and sits with his or her legs crossed, hands resting on his or her thighs. A small human figure sits on the uncovered end of the litter, facing the elite figure - perhaps a child? Four attendants, nude aside from large ear spools and each with a tall, crested coiffure, and each with a large, erect phallus, strain under the weight of the litter's projecting handles. Each is depicted with a grimace, with arms bent over backs to support the burden. Just who were the people being borne atop this litter? A very intriguing example from the ancient Colima peoples. Size: 4.5" L x 6.5" W x 6.25" H (11.4 cm x 16.5 cm x 15.9 cm)
Colima, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Nayarit. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through 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. Pottery figures and models like this one adorned these tombs.
Provenance: private southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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One of the attendant's legs is repaired; otherwise in excellent condition, with deposits on surface.