Standing female figure

100 BCE–200 CE
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General Description

A distinctive set of burial customs was present in the Colima-Jalisco-Nayarit area of West Mexico from at least 250 BCE. The characteristic shaft-and-chamber tombs were often accompanied by large-scale hollow ceramic figurines. The word chinesco designates a hollow ceramic figure style from southern Nayarit distinguished by vaguely Asian facial features. The broad head and circular face of this example are characteristic, as are the incised caplike treatment of the hair and the depiction of multiple rings as nose and ear ornaments. The figure’s ample hips and legs, full and rounded, convey nurturing abundance; her short, thin arms imply a life with few manual tasks. The female figure, a favorite theme for Mesoamerica’s earliest ceramic artists, probably alluded to hopes for human and agricultural fertility.

Adapted from

  • Carol Robbins, Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

  • Carol Robbins, "Standing female figure (1973.52)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 185.