Work of Art: Standing Female Figure
West Mexican
Nayarit state
Standing Female Figure
circa 200 B.C.E.-300 C.E.
Ceramic with red, white and black slip paint
H. 21 in. (53.3 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Levin

Sculptures such as these were created as tomb offerings and may have represented the deceased's relatives or ancestors. The people of Nayarit dug deep shaft tombs to house the dead. Multiple skeletons found in the large chambers of shaft tombs suggest that each tomb may have been a family crypt. Here a female figure holds a small bowl, possibly for a food offering. Note the woven designs on the edge of the woman's wrap skirt. The artist reproduced weaving patterns by modeling the clay rather than by painting it, which is more common.

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