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Nayarit Chinesco Pottery Seated Cargador

Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, Chinesco, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. Intriguing pottery vessel in the form of a hunchback Cargador, a carrier, a seated figure with stooped over shoulders, supporting a large olla on his back, stabilizing it with his characteristically slender arm. Such bearers provided a pivotal service to their communities, because the wheel was not used to assist vehicles in transporting burdens. Size: 5.5" W x 8.125" H (14 cm x 20.6 cm)

Judging from that strained facial expression, this cargador is not happy about his labors. The heart-shaped face presents expressive slit eyes, a protruding nose donning a nose ring, incised coiffure and petite ears. Hunchbacks make frequent appearances in the art of shaft tomb cultures of West Mexico. The indigenous purportedly believed their physical deformities were signs that these individuals were touched by the deities and they were thought of as powerful, shamanic figures. Most striking about this cargador is the physiognomic delineation of his overworked back. We can virtually feel his aches and pains as he carries yet one more vessel on his shoulder.

Condition: Surface wear with pigment loss as shown. Areas of encrustation which may indicate repair where arm meets olla and underneath olla. Quite heavy, suggesting sediment within.

Provenance: Ex-private Harvey Collection, acquired prior to 1972

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