**Originally Listed At $1800**
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A charming example of a seated Nayarit figure with a very intriguing body. One side of the body is shown kneeling, with a hand pressed to his or her thigh; this side also has a breast. The other side of the body has no arm, no breast, and a very phallic-looking projection (that may also be interpreted as a leg). The figure has an upturned, wide face with narrow slits for eyes, no mouth, and a pointed nose graced with a large nose ring. Flattened, half-circle-shaped ears project from the sides of the head and incised lines form straight hair on top of the head. The back has been sculpted to show the ribs, giving the figure a gaunt appearance, with white pigment used to underline many of them. White pigment also creates a loincloth and necklace for the figure, and colors the hair. The blending of female and male characteristics may represent an intersex individual or a transformational shamanic figure capable of being between sexes. Size: 6.15" L x 5.2" W x 7.6" H (15.6 cm x 13.2 cm x 19.3 cm)
This style of sculpture is known as Chinesco by collectors because of its stylistic similarities to Chinese art. Clay figures like this one are the only remains that we have today of a sophisticated and unique culture in West Mexico - they made few 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: private Florida, USA collection
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