World Ceramic: What does it look like?

This ceramic statuette was probably part of a pair depicting a man and a woman. Joining couples in a single work is a common feature of West Mexican art. We know this figure is female by the vessel she holds in her right hand and by her attire. She wears a plain headband and a long wraparound skirt. Male figures usually carry weapons or musical instruments, such as drums or rattles. They often wear a pointed, cone-shaped headdress, and short trousers with a loincloth in front.

The simple female form evokes a mood of humor and merriment. She is a caricature with EXAGGERATED features. The artist did not attempt to model realistic details such as bone, muscles, or flesh. Instead, skinny arms contrast with thick, short legs, and large feet projecting at the rear enable her to stand independently. Other identifying features include an enormous nose and ears, long neck, pointed chin, and small, carefully modeled teeth bared in a half-grin.

Most Nayarit figures wear at least one piece of jewelry. This one wears a nose ring, elaborate earrings, an armband and a necklace.

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