Pottery figures of a drummer and a woman and child

Tala-Tonalá style, Jalisco, West Mexico
300 BC - AD 300

At least six styles of ceramic sculptures are found in Jalisco, West Mexico, some of them limited to a specific area or time period. In comparison to the ceramics of Colima and Nayarit though, the subject matter in this region is quite limited.

These two sculptures belong to a group commonly called 'sheep-faced' figures, after their pointed noses and ears and elongated heads. The ears are adorned by earplugs. The slip that covers the figures is a glossy red and the details of clothing and ornament are painted in white. Here the woman is wearing earplugs and a necklace, and a typical wrap skirt. The drummer wears the same ornaments and a mantle over one shoulder, characteristic of male figurines. Women usually hold a vessel or cup and men are seen playing musical instruments or holding a variety of objects. Eating, drinking and playing music are also the subject of many scenes represented in ceramic models from the neighbouring Nayarit region.

Although these figures are usually presented as a pair, most come from looted shaft tombs and may have been paired at a later date based purely on stylistic similarities.

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More information


R.F. Townsend, Ancient West Mexico, art and a (Chicago, Thames and Hudson, 1998)

M. Kan, C.W. Meighan and H.B. Nicholson, Sculpture of Ancient Mexico: N (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989)

J. Gallagher, Companions of the dead: cerami (Los Angeles, Museum of Cultural History, UCLA, 1983)


Height: 23.000 cm (Hn 26)
Width: 23.500 cm (Hn 26)
Height: 23.000 cm (Hn 26)
Width: 23.500 cm (Hn 26)

Museum number

AOA HN 26, 25


Heaven Collection
Purchased with Christy Fund


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