Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic Period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A charming, hand-built redware pottery effigy vessel depicting a rotund dog standing atop four attenuated, nubbin-tipped legs. The highly-burnished vessel sports a globular abdomen with delineated shoulders and hips, a stocky neck on one end, and on the other a wide spout which doubles as the tail. The bulbous head boasts an expressive visage defined by incised almond-shaped eyes, a conical snout with impressed nostrils, a smiling, slit-form mouth above a rounded chin, a rounded pate, and a pair of perky ears. Size: 13.625" L x 6.75" W x 9" H (34.6 cm x 17.1 cm x 22.9 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.
For a smaller, stylistically-similar example, please see the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, accession number 75.354.2: https://www.mfah.org/art/detail/2460?returnUrl=%2Fart%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcolima%2Bdog
Provenance: ex-private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection
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Minor abrasions and nicks to head, body, legs, and tail, light encrustations within some recessed areas, with fading to original pigmentation in some areas, and one area of fire-darkening on abdomen, otherwise intact and excellent. Nice earthen deposits throughout.