Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A seated pottery female figure, possibly pregnant, with clear genitalia and breasts. She is seated, wearing many earrings; her nose is pierced and may once have had a ring made of precious metal through it. Her face is fairly realistic for this style of figure, and her hair is incised and detailed. Her hands also have a wonderful level of detail with realistically posed fingers. Size: 4.25" W x 7.5" H (10.8 cm x 19 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. 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: Ex-Allan Davis collection, Santa Fe, NM acquired from Tad Dale Tribal Arts
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