Colima Vessel in the Form of an Armadillo - PF.5834, Origin: Western Mexico, Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD, Dimensions: 6.25" (15.9cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide x 12.5" (31.8cm) depth, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Colima, Medium: Terracotta. One of the most exciting and expressive Pre- Columbian art styles belongs to a group of people who lived in the pacific region of Ancient Mexico close to the 13,000 foot-high volcano "Colima." Here, artists modeled in clay a rich assortment of animal and plant figures, such as this striking vessel in the form of an armadillo. In Spanish, armadillo means, "little armored one." The armadillo truly is one of the most spectacular and unusual appearing creatures in the animal kingdom. Looking somewhat like a cross between an anteater and a turtle, the armadillo features a tough, thick bard outer shell that protects it from the harsh elements and potential predators. When threatened, the armadillo curls itself into a hall, becoming virtually indestructible. Subsisting on a diet of insects and invertebrates, the armadillo can often be spotted burrowing through the ground in search of grubs. Occasionally, they are known to eat berries and bird eggs. Due to their digging habits, they are sometimes known "gravediggers," due to the legendary belief that they were eating the bodily remains of the deceased. This vessel was discovered burried in a tomb alongside the deceased. May it once have held precious offerings to the gods inside its hollow belly? Perhaps it contained liquids that were meant for the consumption of the deceased in the afterlife? Clearly this elegantly modelled effigy vessel played a vital role in the world beyond. Today, we are charmed by its beauty and inspired by its history.
Ancient Central America & Mexico