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Horned Hunchback Figure Vessel

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Horned Hunchback Figure Vessel

ca. 200 BCE – 500 CE
12 7/8 x 9 in. (32.7 x 22.9 cm)

Unknown, Colima
Mexican

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Clay
Credit Line: By exchange from Stendahl Galleries
Accession Number: 1942.24
Location: Currently on view
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Many ceramic hunchback figures with single horns strapped to their heads have been found in the tombs of the Colima culture. The frequency with which hunchbacks and dwarfs appear in the art of the Ancient Americas may indicate their significant status as shamans or spiritual advisors. The horns strapped to the Colima figures are thought to represent powerful caps characteristically worn by shamans across many cultures.

Shamanism is a religious system in which the shaman is a spiritual mediator between the physical and spiritual worlds. A shaman figure buried in a tomb may have served to guide the deceased’s transition from the living to the realm of the dead.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles (dealers); acquired by the Gallery by exchange in 1942

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