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Hunchback Dwarf Figure Vessel

ca. 200 BCE - 500 CE
9 13/16 x 6 7/8 x 5 15/16 in. (25 x 17.4 x 15.1 cm)

Unknown, Colima
Mexican

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Clay
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1971.59
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Some figural art created by Ancient American cultures may not depict actual humans, but may use the human form as a symbol. The lives of the people of ancient Mesoamerica depended upon their ability to grow and produce food. The cultivation of maize (corn) was central to their world view. The human figure could capture aspects of a belief system that intertwined the cycles of life with the cycles of agriculture. For example, a hunchback (“fatback”) might symbolize abundance, and a dwarf might represent the stunted ears of corn a typical maize plant produces with the healthy ear. Mother and child figures might symbolize lineage or the way corn starts as a kernel, grows into a stalk of corn, and is harvested for consumption.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Louis Krevolin, New York (dealer); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1971

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