Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A beautiful and beautifully-preserved shaft tomb figure: a standing warrior holding an atl atl over one arm. He wears only a loincloth and several anklets and bracelets. He also has a helmet-like headdress, elaborate earrings, and a large nose ornament. Dots painted around his neck may be ritual scarification, tattoos, or a necklace. He has coffee-bean eyes and his face has swirling painted designs in red and black - again, possibly signs of tattooing. Interestingly, the figure has delineated toes - but only four on one foot, and five on the other. Size: 7.7" W x 14.05" H (19.6 cm x 35.7 cm)
Nayarit, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Colima. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through the volcanic tuff that makes up the geology of the region. The base of the shaft would open into one or more horizontal chambers with a low ceiling. These shafts were almost always dug beneath a dwelling, probably a family home, and seem to have been used as family mausoleums, housing the remains of many related individuals. This is a figure made to be placed inside those mausoleums, perhaps to mediate between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex-private T. Misenhimer collection, Hollywood, California, USA, famous Hollywood film producer
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