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Colima Pottery Seated Male Figure

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A lovely hollow-cast and highly-burnished male figure seated upon delineated legs and a planar posterior. The figure wears a simple loincloth around his waist, a shell-adorned necklace around his neck, ringed bands around his arms, and a wrapped cap atop his head. He sits erect with a flat back and broad shoulders, with his left arm draped at his side and the right holding a circular object with an open bottom - perhaps a ball-player's helmet or the headband of a conquered opponent. Painted in a russet-hued slip, this is a wonderful example from ancient West Mexico! Size: 6.5" W x 11.5" H (16.5 cm x 29.2 cm).

Colima, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was a shaft tomb culture during this period, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Nayarit. 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.

Condition: Repair to one ear. Surface wear and minor abrasions commensurate with age, small nicks to arms, legs, body, and head, with fading to slip pigmentation, and fading to some finer details. Light earthen deposits and nice mineral deposits throughout. Old inventory sticker on base.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private collection of Dr. Saul Tuttman and Dr. Gregory Siskind, New York, New York, USA

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