Of high-luster burnished clay, a hollow shaman or ruler figure seated with his legs in front of him, arms raising a bowl to his lips, two trophy heads on either side of his body suspended from crossed bands around his chest, a characteristic beak-like nose and small round eyes, a single horn on the forehead attached by bands wrapped around the head, and pierced ears from which would have hung gold earrings.
Most depictions of Colima males are wearing forehead horns. The horn suggests they are shamen figures communicating between the living and the dead, although they may also be the tips of conch shells worn to signify rulership. Shamans were respected not just for their abilities to communicate with the spiritual world but also for their prowess as great warriors. This figure has demonstrated his own military success by displaying the heads he has captured. During shamanistic rituals of communing with the gods, religious men would drink hallucinogenic beverages, as is probably depicted here with this figure's raised cup.
Cf: Mary Ellen Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec, Fourth Edition London: Thames and Hudson (2006)
Dimensions: Height: 18 1/4 inches (46.4 cm), Width: 8 inches (20.3 cm)
Condition: With black and gray mineral deposits across the surface, intact and in excellent condition overall. with no cracks or breaks.
Provenance: David Broder (1929-2011) and Ann Broder (1929-2016) private collection, Va and thereafter by descent. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post, David Broder was one of the most respected writers on national politics for four decades. Broder was often called the dean of the Washington press corps - a nickname he earned in his late 30s in part for the clarity of his political analysis and the influence he wielded as a perceptive thinker on political trends in his books, articles and television appearances.