This large, hollow figure comes from the present-day state of Jalisco, located on the Pacific coast of West Mexico. Between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500, the inhabitants of Jalisco and the nearby states of Nayarit and Colima constructed elaborate underground shaft-and-chamber tombs, which are unique in Mexico. Among the various burial offerings placed in these tombs were large, hollow ceramic figures and vessels, and such smaller objects as stone implements, shell trumpets, and obsidian mirrors. Because little monumental architecture and no writing systems from this region have survived, our knowledge of these ancient cultures comes from the burials and their contents. Unfortunately, few burials have been excavated by archaeologists, therefore, much historical information about the people of ancient West Mexico has been lost. This warrior figure, which may have served as a tomb guardian, is the largest known example of funerary sculpture from West Mexico. Made in one piece, it is a tour de force of firing. The figure wears a caplike helmet with spikes; a stiff, leather vest; and short trousers. He raises a painted rod, possibly a club or baton signifying his rank. The red-slipped brown clay and polychrome decoration, protruding stomach, and pellets of clay on the figure's shoulders, representing scarified tissue, characterize the El Arenal Brown type of West Mexican sculpture.More...
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