TYPE: Figurine
DIMENSIONS: Height: 14 inches
ITEM ID: 4773

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Colima Standing Figure Holding a Staff

Notes: 1200-1400 AD

Colima is a small state of Western Mexico on the central Pacific coast, and includes the four oceanic Revillagigedo Islands. Mainland Colima shares borders with the states of Jalisco and Michoacán. In addition to the capital city of Colima, the main cities are Manzanillo and Tecomán. Colima is the fourth smallest state in Mexico and has the smallest population, but has one of Mexico’s highest standards of living and lowest unemployment.

The state was home to a number of pre-Hispanic cultures as part of Western Mexico. Archeological evidence dates human occupation of the area as far back as 1500 BCE, with sites here contemporary with San Lorenzo on the Gulf Coast and Tlatilco in the Valley of Mexico. One period of the area’s development is called the Los Ortices era, which began around 500 BCE. During this time the elements that characterize the pre-Hispanic peoples of Colima appear, including shaft tombs and a distinctive ceramic style called rojo bruñido, or burnished red.

The next phase, called Comala and centered on a site of the same name, was from around 100 to 600 CE. Comala people perfected burnished red pottery and created representations of people and animals with skill and fluid lines. The best known of these figures are known as the fattened dogs. The Comala site shows influence from Teotihuacan. Around 500 CE, another site in Armería developed along the river of the same name.

The Chanal site was active from the 6th to the 15th centuries and was the main culture for the Colima area. Belonging to this culture was a number of smaller sites and most of the ones known and explored to date. After Chanal the largest related site is La Campana but most contain pyramidal bases and plazas with structures often containing rounded edges. Images of Huehueteotl and Tlaloc appear with this culture, which may indicate the origins of the cultures that ultimately settled central Mexico.

There is one other site called Periquillo, which indicates one late migration into Colimas around the 10th century from the north.

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Purépechas invaded the territory of the Tecos and got as far as the salt fields of Tzacoalco. However, a chief named Colimotl or Colliman defeated the P’urhépechas during the Salitre War (Guerra del Salitre). After this, the Tecos conquered Sayula, Zapotlán and Amunla, making them the dominant cultural group in this part of the state. Both the Periquillo and Chanal sites were occupied when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.