Pottery figurine of a woman holding a dog

From Nayarit, West Mexico
300 BC - AD 300

Large, hollow ceramic figures, sitting or standing, are found in shaft-tombs throughout West Mexico. Both male and female representations are found in Nayarit and Jalisco; women are less frequently depicted in the art of Colima.

Three broad styles can be recognized in the ceramics of Nayarit. Women, in the style represented by this sculpture, are usually portrayed sitting on a stool, standing or kneeling. They do not wear any clothing but, like this one, wear multiple earrings, a nose ring and armbands. The pattern on her upper arms is common to both Nayarit and Jalisco figurines. With her left hand she holds a plate which rests on her shoulder and a small dog in the crook of her right arm. She is sitting on a two-legged bench.

Although most hollow figurines and vessels known from this area have been found in tombs, and were therefore used in a funerary context, they were not made exclusively for that purpose. The wear patterns on some of the containers indicate that they have been used before interral, as could the figures. Other objects used for personal adornment and made of shell, jade and other materials were also found in the burials. These items probably reflect the social status of the deceased.

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Pottery figurine of a woman holding a dog

  • ¾ view of side

    ¾ view of side


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)

C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)


Height: 54.000 cm
Width: 26.000 cm

Museum number



Heaven Collection
Purchased with the Christy Fund


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