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Lot 171, Auction 2/6/2019: Tall Colima Redware Standing Figural Vessel

$2,490.00
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Pre-Classic period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. A sizable, hollow-built redware pottery standing figure of a man with broad, delineated legs, a tied waistband, outstretched arms with several shoulder nubbins each, and wearing a massive shell pendant on a necklace strand. The head boasts almond-shaped eyes with slit lids, a prominent triangular nose, an incised mouth set between rounded cheeks, and pierced, tab-shaped ears, all beneath a simple cap and a flared spout. The highly-burnished surface is colored with earthy red slip, and the ears may have at one time held additional ornamentation. A fabulous example of ancient shaft-tomb pottery! Size: 12.375" W x 21.25" H (31.4 cm x 54 cm).

Colima, located on Mexico's southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, 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 figural vessel made to be placed inside those mausoleums, perhaps to mediate between the worlds of the living and the dead.

The sculptural creations of Colima are quite distinctive with smooth, rounded forms presenting remarkable consistency in their warm russet red hues. In addition, the sculpture of Colima is known for a wide range of postures and expressions, making them quite intriguing to us, even some 2000 years after their origination.

A stylistically-similar example hammered for EUR 4,112 ($4,687) at Christie's, Paris "Art Africain, Oceanien et Precolombien" auction (sale 5094, December 8, 2004, lot 383): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/personnage-colima-preclassique-env-100-4402636-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=4402636&sid=9aaf0e1f-c2df-4d9a-af8f-2701e8b71b0a

Condition: Professionally repaired from roughly 20 large pieces with restoration, resurfacing, and overpainting along break lines. Fading to original pigmentation, minor abrasions and nicks to legs, body, arms, and head, and light encrustations within some recessed areas. Nice earthen deposits and manganese blooms throughout.

Provenance: ex-private Carlsbad, California, USA collection, formed between 1970 and 1990

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