Jama Coaque culture, Manabí Province, Ecuador, Standing Female Figure

Jama Coaque culture, Manabí Province, Ecuador 

Standing Female Figure, c. 1st – 5th century 

hand-built ceramic with traces of pigments 

Purchase, 1973 (4185.1)

Named for the modern towns of Jama and Coaque in the coastal lowlands of Ecuador's Manabí Province, the Jama Coaque culture is most known for its freestanding, richly clothed and elaborately adorned ceramic figures. The figures were mold-made and decorated with applied elements made in smaller molds or incised into the surface of the wet clay (note the delineation of the fingernails and toenails). This exceptionally large female figure wears a skirt, a multi-strand necklace with large pendant, and a head cover with wing-like projections. In her nasal septum she wears an ornament that likely would have been of gold in real life. Pale green and yellow pigments were applied after firing. Her hands are cupped and may have held individual small objects or a single horizontal object held across the abdomen. Figures like this were probably made for ritual/funerary purposes and may represent ancestors or deities.