Posed in serene contemplation, this figure displays similarities—through the color of the glaze, tattoos on the face, and indications of cranial modification—to works found at sites such as Ixtlán del Río, which first emerged as a source of volcanic obsidian. Akin to plastics or steel today, this resource would have greatly added to the prestige and power of the region, along perhaps with additional reverence for this particular object. This figure may also depict an individual with “hunched” features. People with such features were often well-respected across Mesoamerica and believed to have supernatural powers.
The form of this figure, the polychrome (multicolored) paints used, and the likelihood that this object was associated with a burial are traits this work shares with the unique region of western Mexico and in the contemporary states of Nayarit, Jalisco, and Colima, especially concerning rituals around death and the afterlife.
Private Collection, New Mexico;
[Ron Messick Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM];