Seated man and woman

100 BCE–200 CE
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General Description

This couple has several characteristic features of the Jalisco ceramic style: bulging and thick‑lidded eyes, carefully modeled noses, wide mouths with parted lips, and frontal, somewhat static poses. Such male‑female couples, both joined and as individual figures, have been found in the West Mexican areas that correspond to the states of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit. The figures assume various postures—some stand on their own feet; others sit with their legs crossed or perch on stools. The ancient inhabitants of West Mexico benefited from plentiful natural resources and a period of prosperity in the centuries between 300 BCE and 400 CE. The family lineages established by prominent community members are believed to have endured for many generations, and the West Mexican sculptures of male‑female couples are thought to depict lineage founders or divine ancestors. The pairs might also represent marriage and fertility.

Excerpt from

Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Seated man and woman (1973.58)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 39.