Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Jalisco, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A fine, hand-molded pottery sculpture showing a seated, conjoined man and woman. The man holds a horn on his lap; the woman sits beside him, a bowl resting on her knee. His arm is around her, his hand resting on her shoulder. They wear matching headdresses, necklaces, and skirts, and both have applied discs on their shoulders that probably represent ritual scarification. Strategically placed red paint emphasizes their matching attire. These figures are from the West Mexican Shaft Tomb tradition and were made to be placed in tombs, where they lined the walls of the tomb while the deceased rested in the center. Size: 6.05" W x 6.75" H (15.4 cm x 17.1 cm)
It is relatively rare to find conjoined male / female sculptures. These may represent married couples, and to the modern viewer, the way the man holds the woman looks like tenderness. However, art depicting personal affection is rare from Mesoamerica, so some scholars see these sculptures as part of a ritual performance or possibly a type of healing involving laying on of hands. The horn is associated with shamanic practice, lending further credence to this interpretation.
Provenance: private Stagecoach, Nevada, USA collection; acquired from 1985 to present from galleries such as Arte Primitivo, Art For Eternity, Butterfields, and Riverbend Gallery
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