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Lot 0552
**Originally Listed At $800**

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A beautiful hand-built pottery turtle-dog vessel with a highly-burnished, lustrous red slip finish, and wonderful zoomorphic features. The animal with its overarching shell, upraised cylindrical spout which doubles as a tail, and projecting head - stands upon all four legs. The shell suggests that this creature is a turtle; however, the visage with those pointed ears and snout suggests a canine. The dog does not exhibit any other characteristics of a turtle. Some scholars have suggested that puppy owners strapped turtle shells to the backs of their dogs to protect them from attacks by predatory birds or other canines. A fascinating animal effigy created by the ancient artisans of the West Mexico. Size: 14" L x 6.75" H (35.6 cm x 17.1 cm)

Terracotta sculptural representations of turtle-dogs are among the many animal effigies created by ancient artisans, though they are among some of the rarest zoomorphic effigy vessels inspired by the natural world of Western Mexico. In the Pre-Columbian world, turtle imagery represented the watery surface separating the sky from the underworld. In addition to its earth metaphor, turtles were symbols of virility as well as fertility. 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 were buried in shaft tombs to protect the deceased and provide sustenance for eternity.

Provenance: private southwestern Pennsylvania, USA collection

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Repaired from multiple pieces with restoration over the break lines. Head and spout reattached. Chips to edges of shell. Manganese deposits on shell, spout, legs, and underside.

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Colima Redware Dog Vessel w/ Turtle Shell

Estimate $1,600 - $2,400
$7000 bids
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Louisville, CO, USA