Colima Sculpture of a Masked Shaman - PF.2409
Origin: Western Mexico
Circa: 100 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 8.625" (21.9cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Colima
Medium: Terracotta


One of the most exciting Pre-Columbian art styles belongs to the ancient artisans of the pacific region of Mexico that lies in the shadow of the 13,000-foot-high volcano, "Colima." The Colima artists' realistic clay modeling of a wide variety of human, animal and plant forms evidences cultural ties with similar Ecuadorian pottery traditions. However, through the course of time the Colima artists developed their own distinctive style, a unique example of which can be seen in this sculpted male shaman-warrior, dancing figure. Posed in a wide-legged stance, the shaman/warrior holds his arms out in front of him, his hands grasping what may be small rattles. His elaborate body costume includes leg and wristbands, beaded armbands and an elaborate beaded necklace that wraps elaborately around his neck and upper torso. Subtle ear spools, a nose ornament and cap held on by a chinstrap serve to embellish his face. However, his face all but disappears when the shaman's dramatic headdress-mask is positioned on his head. Immediately commanding one’s attention, this crocodilian mask has a long snout complete with fearsome teeth. Beady eyes stare out at us, while large stylized ears spring from the top of the headdress. A huge crescent feather helmet crowns the center of this piece, completing the startling overall effect. We have only to gaze at this masked dancer to immediately sense his age-old power and spirited energy. A spark of the imagination sets his body in rhythmic motion--the sounds of the rattles, beads and his hypnotic voice echoing across the ages, capturing us forever in his magnetic spell. - (PF.2409)



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