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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Miscellaneous : Pre-Columbian / Nayarit Sculpture of a Seated Woman
Pre-Columbian / Nayarit Sculpture of a Seated Woman - PF.2917
Origin: Western Mexico
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 3.75" (9.5cm) high x 11" (27.9cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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In the Nayarit tradition, simple images such as this large seated female often had an underlying funerary symbolism, appropriate for their function as effigy figures in shaft tomb graves. The traits which characterize the Chinesco style of southwestern Nayarit (a flat, rounded, almost heart-shaped head, and thin eye slits) have been softened here. While her posture is typical of the Chinesco seated figures, the artist has added details, which make her much less stylized and a great deal more realistic than is often seen in such figures. The remnants of ancient paint mark what appears to be a patterned garment around her waist and hips, and clay has been molded to form a large necklace, ear ornaments, and a beaded (or knotted) belt. The details of her toes and her hair contribute to the individualistic, personal feeling of this representation. Towards the end of the pre- classic period in Ancient Meso-America, the regions of Colima, Nayarit, and Jalisco in Western Mexico became home to what has now been termed the 'Shaft-Tomb' culture. These people built tombs consisting of shafts 10-60feet deep with several ovoid tombs branching either directly off of the main shaft at various levels, or connected to it by lateral tunnels. The burial offerings, which filled these tombs, have become our greatest link to this lost culture. The hollow pottery figures which were commonly placed in the tomb chambers show stylistic variations between regions, giving us glimpses into the cultural differences between these groups as well as the beliefs, which they held in common. - (PF.2917)


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