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Finely Painted Polychrome Nayarit Musician

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A hand-modeled seated figure with an expressive face and a lizard-shaped rasp leaning against his knee and shoulder that he is playing with his other hand. He is painted with bright details, white and black vertical stripes at low diagonal angles on his chest and the band of his cap. Horizontal black-painted lines on his face may represent tattooing or scarification; he wears a series of narrow rings on each earlobe and a large white nose adornment. There is a wonderful attention to detail in his lifelike pose. Size: 5" L x 6.45" W x 12" H (12.7 cm x 16.4 cm x 30.5 cm)

Figures like this one would have been placed into the tombs dug in shafts beneath Nayarit households where family members were periodically interred; archaeologists believe that they were placed around the edges of the tomb facing inward, as if in conversation with the dead. Musicians like this one are frequent subjects, and there seems to have been a strong musical tradition in this culture.

Condition: Figure has been repaired at shoulder and leg on the right side (facing).

Provenance: Ex-Triffo Collection, acquired in the 1970s

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