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Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit woman figural sculpture

ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE



Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Nayarit, Ixtlan del Rio type, ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE. A handbuilt bichrome terracotta female figure seated with feet peeking out beneath her skirt - her torso nude with pronounced breasts though covered with elaborate tattoos or painted motifs. She holds a stripe-patterned bowl in her right hand and places her left hand upon her slightly protruding abdomen. Her head is characteristically oversized and presents button-shaped eyes, a prominent nose fitted with multiple nose rings, ears adorned by elaborate applied ornaments, an open mouth with revealed teeth, tattoos across her visage, and a caplike headdress. She is additionally decorated with applied nose ring, a long pendant, painted/negative resist necklace strands, and painted as well as applied earrings. The level of detail achieved via negative resist is impressive - all done in a style distinct to the Ixtlan del Rio variety of Nayarit figures. A lively example from the ancients of West Mexico. Size: 9.25" H x 7" W x 4.75" D. Nayarit, located on Mexico's western coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors in Colima and Jalisco. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts - 3 to 20 meters deep - that were dug vertically or near vertically through the volcanic tuff that makes up the geology of the region. The base of the shaft would open into one or more horizontal chambers with a low ceiling. These shafts were almost always dug beneath a dwelling, probably a family home, and scholars believe they were used as family mausoleums, housing the remains of many related individuals. This is a figure made to be placed inside those mausoleums, perhaps to mediate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Condition: Old restoration to entirety of left hip and hidden base area. Otherwise very beautiful surface tones and distinctive facial type and paint pattern. Unique, highly animated style. Covered with root marks and manganese deposits.


  • Creation Year
    ca. 100 BCE to 200 CE
  • Dimensions
    Height: 9.25 in. (23.5 cm)Width: 7 in. (17.78 cm)Depth: 4.75 in. (12.07 cm)
  • Medium
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Hudson, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU24525345312

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    Ships From: Hudson, NY
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    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Hudson, NY
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