Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, 300 BCE to 300 CE. A sweet Colima dog vessel, finely molded in lustrous redware and standing proudly on all fours - presenting an attractive two-tone finish with a saturated red slip adorning the tail and a tawny orange-red slip on the rest of the body. Pleasantly plump, his rotund belly nearly touches the ground. Clearly happy with his satiated tummy, his head is alert with a playful countenance presenting perky ears, wide open incised almond-shaped eyes, a pronounced snout, a gentle smile, and an upturned wagging tail for a spout. A marvelous example - quite sizeable, full of character, with nice burnishing marks and manganese blooms. Size: 10.75" L x 6.625" H (27.3 cm x 16.8 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.
This piece was exhibited in the Marjorie Barrick Museum, UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) in the 1980s and 1990s.
Provenance: ex private Nevada, USA collection, ex. Dr. David Harner collection, Arkansas, USA, 1950s-1960s, collection #ST55. Exhibited: Marjorie Barrick Museum, UNLV, 1980s and 1990s
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