A Possible Ehecatl Figure from West Mexico



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This thesis focuses on a particularly sophisticated example of Pre-Columbian West Mexican ceramic sculpture from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston: a dancing figure with a complex zoomorphic headdress. Late Pre-Classic Colima, the figure's culture of origin, is poorly understood due to its severely compromised archaeological record. Based on a comprehensive iconographic analysis, the MFAH figure is tentatively identified as the wind deity Ehecatl, a god from the broadly shared Mesoamerican deity system that is previously unconfirmed in Preclassic Colima. While West Mexican sculpture was once considered merely illustrative of everyday activities, this thesis concludes that the MFAH Colima Dancer and similar figures evince highly evolved communal religious practices. This interpretation also supports the existence of generally unacknowledged trade between ancient West Mexico and the rest of Mesoamerica, both in tangible assets and in ideological/religious concepts. This new perspective will hopefully catalyze further reappraisal of underappreciated West Mexican ceramic materials.



West Mexico, Mesoamerica, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Comala, Iconography, Pre-Columbian art, Olmec art, Olmecs, Maya art, Aztec art, Mixtec art, Ehecatl, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, Tlaloc, Tecuhtli, Spondylus, Ceiba pentandra, Theobroma bicolor, Atlatl, Ceramic, Dancer, Shaft tomb, Guachimontón, Huitzilapa, Sahagún, Nicholson, H. B., Von Winning, Hasso, Disjunction