A lovely statuette of a standing female, still displaying strong original colours: yellow ochre pigment for her torso, face and legs, and pale green for her skirt, head band, facial ornaments and the pendant on her necklace.
The woman wears a tight fitting skirt, calf-length, and a head cover with flaps at the sides to cover the ears. She has a nose ornament, pierced through a hole in the nasal septum, and another ornament at the lower lip. She is wearing a multistrand collar, executed in relief, over which she wears a necklace with a sizable pendant; the green of the ornaments and the pendant perhaps represents a green stone such as jade, turquoise, or even emerald. As is often the case, she is shown bare-chested. There are bands, executed in relief, around her arms. There are two vent holes, one at the back of the head and one under the feet.
The Jama-Coaque culture developed in the lowlands on the Pacific coast of Ecuador between Cabo de San Francisco and Bahía de Caráquez, in the Manabí Province; the culture is named for the modern towns of Jama and Coaque, which define its archaeological limits.
Ceramic figurines, usually mold-made, belong to the best-known aspects of the Jama Coaque culture. It has been suggested that they were made for ritual purposes. Some figures were attached to a vessel, but most are freestanding. Their backs are generally not well finished, indicating that the figures were meant to be seen only from the front. Depicted were all kinds of people, among them dancers and musicians, but also warriors and hunters. Many figurines depict women. Usually they display a rich decoration, often attached to the statuettes as an appliqué and made in smaller molds. Such decoration no doubt represents valuable jewellery and other ornaments in gold and other precious materials, therefore it is thought that these figures portray individial of high status. Among many peoples on the Pre-Columbian world, dress as well as ornament identified clans and ethnic groups and marked rank; elements of them contained encoded information which members of those groups would understand.
Probably around 500 A.D., although such figures were still made a few centuries later.
Height 18.3 cm.
Dutch private collectiom, acquired from Arte Primitivo, New York, in 2003; previously US private collection, prior to 1970.
In excellent condition, with only some age related surface wear and some scratches.