This particular work displays the realism and skill developed by Colima artists over centuries of working with ceramics. The female figure may have been associated with fertility rituals, or may have been created especially to accompany an esteemed individual into the afterlife since many of these objects have been associated with shaft tomb burials. This figure’s elaborate arm markings/bands and coiffure most likely indicate social status since specialized hairstyles and headdresses were often used to demonstrate social differentiation throughout the pre-colonial Americas.
The Colima tradition is related to similar pre-colonial cultures found across the modern western Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, and Colima that all share some distinct material culture with other areas of Mesoamerica. These remaining ceramics, architectural forms, and ritual iconography especially center around death. Due to persistent looting, much remains unknown regarding the Colima, however, increasing archeological and scholarly analysis is allowing for greater understanding of the complexity of these cultures.
[Sotheby’s New York, May 16, 1995, lot 82];
[Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY];
Sotheby’s New York, Pre-Columbian Art, May 16, 1995, lot 82.