Pre Columbian Colima Dog Ancient West Mexico
Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima Ancient Mexico C 200 BC –400 AD
A attractive seated Colima dog vessel with a flared spout on the head .
Height 27 cm 10.5 inches length 32 cm 11 inches
Condition: Small restoration to one ear tip spout broken and re-joined, stable small hairline crack on back.
Colima vessels such as this one were buried in shaft tombs to accompany and protect the deceased and provide sustenance in the afterlife.
Scholars know of at least two types of Colima dogs, one to be fattened up and ritually sacrificed or eaten and one to serve as a watchdog and healer of the ill. This plump hairless dog known as a Chichi or Escuintla is thought to be related to the Chihuahua or Mexican Hairless also known as the Xoloitzcuintle. The Xolo dog was named for the deity Xolotl, the God of the Underworld, and believed to guide the deceased as they journeyed to the afterlife. Colima vessels such as this one were buried in shaft tombs to protect the deceased and provide sustenance for eternity.
Colima, located on Mexico’s southwestern coast, was during this time part of the shaft tomb culture, along with neighbors to the north in Jalisco and Nayarit. In this culture, the dead were buried down shafts – 3 to 20 meters deep – that were dug vertically or near vertically through the volcanic tuff that makes up the geology of the region. The base of the shaft would open into one or more horizontal chambers with a low ceiling. These shafts were almost always dug beneath a dwelling, probably a family home, and seem to have been used as family mausoleums, housing the remains of many related individuals. This is a vessel likely made to be placed inside those mausoleums, perhaps to mediate between the worlds of the living and the dead.