Colima Janiform Incensario - PF.2481,Origin: Western Mexico,Circa: 100 BC to 250 AD,Dimensions: 17.75" (45.1cm) high x 7.25" (18.4cm) wide,Collection: Pre-Columbian,Style: Colima,Medium: Terracotta. This dramatic work of art is an extraordinary example of a highly distinctive type of Colima effigy vessel known as a canasta basket by the ancient people of Western Mexico who created it. The receptacle portion of the vessel, which possibly functioned as an incensario, is formed by the backs of the heads of opposite facing nude male figures whose abbreviated bodies and legs serve as a tetra pod support for the vessel. These imposing figures, possibly representing the ancient rain God Tlaloc, are made even more startling by the accompaniment of twin two headed snakes who project from the upper portion of one of the deities heads. The snake bodies then proceed to intertwine above the God’s head and end with their opposing serpentine heads resting against the vessels large basket handle. With their exaggerated standing positions, we can almost imagine these dual images of the God Tlaloc positioned over Tlalocan, the paradise of the rain god. Here is the heaven to which those who have drowned or otherwise died by water are delivered a paradise where human spirits spend an idyllic afterlife among flowers, butterflies, and other heavenly delights. Clearly, the unearthly qualities of Tlaloc translate most powerfully in this vessel, revealing the spiritual beliefs of a ancient culture and their ability to translate those beliefs into timeless works of art.
Ancient Central America & Mexico