Property from a New York Private Collection
COLIMA SEATED FIGURE PROTOCLASSIC, CIRCA 100 BC-AD 250
Height: 18 ¼ in (46.4 cm)
Overall excellent condition. Appears to have some repair on the back of the proper left elbow. Slight spawling on the center of the back and waistband, the top of the proper right shoulder, and minor areas at the back of the buttocks. Small areas of incrustation.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Paul Aleppa, Tucson, Arizona, private collector of Southwestern and Pre-Columbian art, in the 1960's-1970's
Primitive Arts Gallery, acquired from the above
Sotheby's, New York, November 25, 1996, lot 105
Acquired by the present owner from the above auction
The slender, tall shaman figure is well detailed, particularly in the treatment of his loincloth, incised waistband, and elaborate wraparound headband encircling the projecting shell horn. Much debate has surrounded the "horned" projections on Colima figures, which are considered diagnostic of shaman since Peter Furst's studies in the 1960's. Shamanic activity or ritualized ecstatic behavior was relevant to the rise of political authority. Graham convincingly showed it is the conch shell that has been a symbol of authority and rulership from early Olmec times continuing through the Teotihuacan, Maya and Aztec eras (Graham in Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico, Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, Chicago, 1998, pp. 168-198). Rather than representing a "horn," the projection can be seen as a modified shell obtained from outside the region.