Lot 69A: Nayarit White-Painted Pottery Female
October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, ca. 300 BCE to 300 CE. A seated female example of the expressive shaft tomb hollow pottery figures that were placed around the perimeter of graves sunk several feet below households. She has earrings, a nose ring, and a necklace; her hair is carefully done in a style that we might today call cornrows. Her hands rest on her stomach, possibly signifying pregnancy. Her mouth is opened wide and her face is slightly upturned, as if she is caught mid-conversation. Clay figures like this one are the only remains that we have today of a sophisticated and unique culture in West Mexico -- they made no above-ground monuments or sculptures, at least that we know of, which is in strong contrast to developments elsewhere in ancient Mesoamerica. Instead, their tombs were their lasting works of art: skeletons arrayed radially with their feet positioned inward, and clay offerings, like this one, placed alongside the walls facing inward, near the skulls. Some scholars have connected these dynamic sculptures of the living as a strong contrast to the skeletal remains whose space they shared, as if they mediated between the living and the dead. Size: 6.4" W x 9.25" H (16.3 cm x 23.5 cm)
Provenance: Ex-NYC collection, Ex Arte Primitivo
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Condition Report: Intact, with a great deal of remaining pigment and manganese staining overall.