Nayarit, Mexico, Seated Male and Female Figures

Nayarit, Mexico 

Seated Male and Female Figures, c. 2nd century BC – 2nd century 

hand-built ceramic, pigments 

Purchase, 1975 (4290.1)

Male and female figure pairs are common subjects in the ceramics of the ancient peoples named for the neighboring modern Mexican states Nayarit, Colima, and Jalisco, in which the works have been discovered in deeply-buried shaft tombs. The sculptures show aspects of daily and ritual life, and while subject matter was relatively consistent throughout the entire region, style distinctions are present. The figures here represent Nayarit's Ixtlán del Río style, named for the municipality in the southwest of the Nayarit State in which they have been found. They are characterized by highlystylized facial features on oversized heads, large feet, and thin, pliant arms. Physical gender differences can be discerned, but sexes are mainly distinguished by clothing and the objects held. Both men and women wear numerous rings on ears and nose. Textile patterns and possibly skin tattoos, were delineated by applications of colored slips or pigments.