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Nayarit Pottery Seated Female, Protoclassic

Nayarit Pottery Seated Female, Protoclassic

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Sculpture: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1240265

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Nayarit Pottery Seated Female, Protoclassic, Mexico 100 BCE - 250 CE. Figure leaning forward supported on two legged stool. Rotund body decorated with curvilinear and striped resist tattoos. Right hand raised to mouth, deeply slit eyes and multiple ear ornaments. Painted overall in reddish brown and black. 13 3/8" high x 8" wide x 8 1/4" deep and in excellent condition. Ex: Property of the St. Louis University Art collection, gift of Mr. & Mrs. Sam J. Levin, St. Louis. Large, hollow ceramic figures, sitting or standing, are found in shaft-tombs throughout West Mexico. Both male and female representations are found in Nayarit and Jalisco; women are less frequently depicted in the art of Colima. Three broad styles can be recognized in the ceramics of Nayarit. Women, in the style represented by this sculpture, are usually portrayed sitting on a stool, standing or kneeling. They do not wear any clothing but wear multiple earrings, a nose ring and armbands. Although most hollow figurines and vessels known from this area have been found in tombs, and were therefore used in a funerary context, they were not made exclusively for that purpose. The wear patterns on some of the containers indicate that they have been used before interral, as could the figures. Other objects used for personal adornment and made of shell, jade and other materials were also found in the burials. These items probably reflect the social status of the deceased. Although humans may have settled in Nayarit as early as 5,000 B.C, the first known civilization in the region, the Cora, appeared sometime around 400 A.D. Concentrated on the Nayar plateau of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Cora society reached its apex about 1200 A.D.; many of their descendants continue to live in the area. The Cora relied on agriculture, and cultivated beans, corn and amaranth. From the 9th to the 12th century, other tribes migrated into the region, including the Tepehuano, Totorano and Huichole. Over the next 300 years they were driven back by tribes from the Indian civilizations of Xalisco. These tribes were members of the Chimalhuacán Confederation. n 1523, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés briefly visited Nayarit. He was followed five years later by Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán, infamous for his ruthlessness in overthrowing indigenous leaders. Beltrán de Guzmán conquered many villages in the region and founded the settlement of Espíritu Santo on the ruins of the indigenous city of Tepic. In 1531, Cortés returned and tried to take control of the area, but Beltrán de Guzmán appealed to the Spanish crown and was named governor of a province comprised of the territories he had conquered. In 1536, Diego Pérez de la Torre replaced Beltrán de Guzmán as governor. He ruled only two years, however, before being killed during an indigenous revolt in 1538. Throughout most of the 16th and 17th centuries, Franciscan priests of the Roman Catholic Church sought to convert and pacify the Cora, who fiercely resisted Spanish occupation. Spanish control of the region was constantly threatened by indigenous revolts, such as the famous uprising led by Tenamaxtli in the 1540s. Rebels in the Nayar mountain range continued to harass the Spanish until they were finally conquered in 1722. Mexico began its march toward independence in 1810 under the leadership of Miguel Hidalgo. In Nayarit, a local priest named José María Mercado took up the cause, occupying the capital city of Tepic without a battle in November 1810. By December he had also captured the port of San Blas, but his success was fleeting. Within a year, royalist forces had recaptured most of Nayarit. Even so, the larger revolution eventually succeeded, and Nayarit became a part of independent Mexico in 1821.