Artifacts - Mexico and Central America


Ceramic Sculpture

Zoomorphic Vessel


Burnished ceramic zoomorphic vase in the form of a dog, otter, coatamundi, or other animal.  Distinctive horseshoe / yoke form with hole in center of back, and bottom darkened by fire clouding during firing. Stubby legs and tail, small ears, elongated mouth with crosshatched lines representing teeth, and head turned to the side. Protruding flattened disk shaped eyes.  Marked on bottom in fine pen, slightly smudged, looks like AC 18

origin; Western Mexico

Colima, Jalisco, or Nayarit


circa 100 to 500AD

collected circa 1970

From a California private collection


Pottery animal sculpture from Western Mexico, most likely Colima, possibly Jalisco or Nayarit.  Red clay with a burnished red slip on surface. Smooth patina, darker on left side.  Beautifully sculpted with typical robust body, playful features, and perky ears.   Simple, peg-like feet and large opening on tail end.  

This is a tough piece to identify due to the fact that there are examples of low, yoke shaped vessels from Mexico, South, and Central America, some with a single head, some with heads on both ends, representing dogs, snakes, felines, and other animals.  While many similar works from Western Mexico have a neck and flared lip on the central orifice, there are some examples with a simple circular hole like this one, however there are also similar examples from South America.  Ultimately I am swayed by the flattened eyes, hatch marks around the mouth, and the red / orange slip, all features that can be found on other Western Mexican Protoclassic ceramic works.


Good condition with one chip on upper left side of mouth.

  Typical wear from age and burial.  No known repairs. Burnished surface. matte patina. Displays well. 

dimensions: approx 7 1/2" long x 7" wide x 3 1/2" tall 

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