Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A red-brown pottery dog head with ears pinned back, incised facial markings, and with a wide spout extending from the top of the head. The dog has its teeth bared in a grin, with human-like teeth and no canines. The vessel may have been made to hold ceremonial liquid. The dog was a hugely popular artistic subject in ancient Colima; this fellow, with his burnished red/orange body and facial markings, is a particularly detailed example of the form. Size: 6.4" L x 4.5" W x 5" H (16.3 cm x 11.4 cm x 12.7 cm)
Scholars know of at least two types of Colima dogs, one to be fattened up and ritually sacrificed or eaten and one to serve as a watchdog and healer of the ill. This plump hairless canine known as a Chichi or Escuintla is thought to be related to the Chihuahua or Mexican Hairless also known as the Xoloitzcuintle. The Xolo dog was named for the deity Xolotl, the God of the Underworld, and believed to guide the deceased as they journeyed to the afterlife. Colima vessels such as this one were buried in shaft tombs to protect the deceased and provide sustenance for eternity.
Provenance: private Poway, California, USA collection
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