Pair of Figures
Paired male and female figures are common subjects in the ceramics of the western Mexico peoples of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit. Named for the states in which the works have been discovered in quantity in deeply buried, multichambered shaft tombs, the ceramic sculptures show aspects of daily and ritual life, from ballgame representations to feasting ceremonies to deceptively simple family scenes. While subject matter was relatively consistent throughout the entire region, style distinctions existed. The figures here are in Nayarit's Ixtlán del Río style, which is characterized by thin, pliant limbs, and stout, cylindrical torsos. Gender differences center on attire and activity, but both sexes wear numerous ornaments on ears and nose. Here the male figure wears a conical hat, a shoulder cloth, and a loincloth. He holds a drum in his right hand and raised drumstick in the other. His companion wears a shoulder cloth and skirt, and her right arm is draped around his shoulder.