Pre-Columbian, West Mexico, Colima, Protoclassic Period, ca. 100 BCE to 250 CE. Likely the largest Colima dog vessel we have laid our eyes upon, this skillfully hand-built redware corpulent canine has a portly abdomen supported by four attenuated legs, with an upturned tail which doubles as the spout. His lively head boasts incised wide-opened ovoid eyes, an upturned snout with impressed nostrils, a smiling perhaps smirking mouth as if he is about to get into mischief, and a pair of perky ears that are pierced for decorating with ornaments. Highly-burnished and covered in red slip as well as fabulous root marks and manganese deposits, this is a wonderful example from ancient West Mexico! Size: 16.25″ L x 9″ W x 10.8″ H (41.3 cm x 22.9 cm x 27.4 cm)
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 canine 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.
See a similar example in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum (object number 37.390).
Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles, California, USA collection before 1980