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Currently shown

Comala-style Dog

Location

MEXICO, NORTHERN COLIMA

Era

Late Preclassic Period to Early Classic period (400 B.C.E.-600 C.E.)

Culture

Colima

Title

Comala-style Dog

Date

300 B.C.E.-300 C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, slip

Dimensions

34 x 22 x 44 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1970.Ac.5

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

In western Mexico, large shaft tombs that could be over twenty metres deep seem to have been the privilege of high-ranking individuals. Various offerings, including large earthenware statuettes of human or animal figures, were placed alongside their remains. Such statuettes were not depictions of the deceased, but rather beings charged with accompanying them into the hereafter, if not to guard their tombs. Among the zoomorphic figures, dogs (xoloitzcuintle) were particularly common, especially in what is now the state of Colima. Their big stomachs are a reminder that they were fattened for eating. Their presence in the tombs was not solely due to a possible food offering; in Mesoamerica, it was also the role of those animals to guide the souls of the deceased in their journeys to the afterlife.

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