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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Miscellaneous : Pre-Columbian / Jalisco Sculpture of a Contorted Canine
Pre-Columbian / Jalisco Sculpture of a Contorted Canine - PF.2931
Origin: Western Mexico
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This unique figure of a contorted canine lies on its side, with its legs stretched to wrap them around the neck. The burnished surf ace of the body is smooth and physical features such as the tail, bodily orifice, and the tongue that sticks out from the mouth are given attention. Different from the common seated or standing dog effigies, this unusual canine opens up many interesting possibilities of its significance. The smooth body surface indicates that the canine is hairless--most of the hairless dogs were used as food in late pre-classic Jalisco. These canines were a prized item on the menu. The odd position of the canine suggests that it was perhaps about to be skinned before consumption. Such unusual position of the canine might also suggest the idea of copulation. The posture places the animal in a vulnerable position, with its sensitive body parts exposed. Moreover, because the concept of rebirth was important in Meso-America, perhaps the animal not only represents copulation but also rebirth. Such concept related to regeneration could be derived from the fact that canines were considered as the guide to the underworld--the life after death. Carrying such mystical connotation, this canine figure was found from a shaft tomb, which indicates its function as a ritual object. Such idea of the afterlife is hinted by the hanging tongue, which signifies death. This peculiar piece stirs the viewer's interest, imagination and curiosity. It stimulates one's mind, to wonder about the ancient life in late pre-classic Jalisco. HT. 9cm(3 1/2IN): L. 21cm(8 1/4IN) - (PF.2931)


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