A pottery Colima dog in a deep red tone with root marks in a darker tone. It stands on its four legs and has a well-rounded intentionally realist form. The details on the legs, the nose, the eyes and the mouth have been so finely incised that a slight smile would seem to be playing around the latter. The tail is risen and the expression of its face is kind and calm.

The depictions of Colima dogs are always of fattened specimens, as in this case, although originally this race of dogs, the xoloitlzcuintle, is of a thin build. Their association with chamber or shaft tombs, both in the form of pottery figurines as well as sacrificial animals, has to do with their role as companion to the soul of the deceased in its journey to the underworld, and with their role in in the funeral banquet. The figurines in the most part come from the cultures existing in the present-day state of Colima on the west coast of Mexico.

The cultures that developed in this area, as well as in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit between the years 200 B.C. and 600 A.D., are considered part of the same cultural current due to the connections and similarities in their funeral practices, for example, their shaft tombs and their artistic production, especially their pottery.

The western Mexican cultures stand out over other pre-Columbian cultures for their vast production of pottery, of an unequaled quality and variety. These figurines were to form part of the tomb goods of the deceased and that is why they have almost always been found in tombs. This has been decisive in their preservation to the present day, and as a result they have been found mostly intact and in appearance as they were originally.

The range of types and motifs depicted in the ceramic work of the Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco cultures is very wide and has been very useful for the knowledge of the traditions and practices of these Mesoamerican peoples.


-AA.VV, Sculpture of Ancient West Mexico, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970.
-AA.VV, Trésors de la céramique précolombienne dans les collections Barbier-Mueller, 2003.
-VON WINNING, Hasso, Pre-Columbian Art of Mexico and Central America.
-BUTTERWICK, Kristi. Heritage of power: ancient sculpture from West Mexico. The Andrall E.Pearson family collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2004.

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