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Dog Effigy Vessel
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Dog Effigy Vessel

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Among many peoples of ancient Mexico, there were myths that a red or yellow dog was the companion that would help a deceased person across a river they needed to cross in the Underworld. It was said that a white dog would not want to dirty itself, and a black dog had already made the trip and was tired. Therefore, it was important to be kind to these reddish dogs in life, and to seek them out in the Underworld. Perhaps for this reason, hundreds of ceramic figures of red dogs have been found in tombs and homes of ancient West Mexico. They were carefully modeled, many of them showing a slightly skeletal dog, as in this example, with prominent backbone, and carefully painted and polished.
  • Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1400 A.D.. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe. 1998-2008.
  • Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
Provenance David Stuart Gallelries [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, 1980s, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009

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100 BC-AD 300
earthenware, burnished slip paint in red and light brown
Accession Number
H: 5 5/8 x L: 12 3/16 x W: 10 15/16 in. (14.3 x 30.9 x 27.8 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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