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Ceramic | Terracotta | Fired Clay 


Object Type

Sculpture and Figurines


Ceramic | Terracotta | Fired Clay

Country of Origin

El Salvador


Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia


Import restricted since 1987 for the Cara Sucia region and since 1995 for all of El Salvador.

Section 1c of Designated List in force since 1995.

Cotzumalhuapa Figurines and Molds
Ceramic figurines, usually hollow and typically mold made in part (especially heads). About half the known examples represent women and most of the remainder depict a variety of animals (men are rare). Some representations of plants and furniture (litters) are known. Whistle mechanisms were optional for all forms of Cotzumalhuapa figurines. Pelleted tubular whistle flutes and recently identified Cotzumalhuapa wheeled figurines are also included here.
Other Figurines: Two figurines have been documented representing the litters that were probably used to transport Cotzumalhuapa elites. They resemble a small rectangular box with a canopy, supported by four spiked feet. A pair of holes at each extreme permitted two sticks to be inserted to act as the carrying poles. On one example the canopy was modeled to represent the stretched skin of a crocodile arranged with the head at one extreme and the tail at the other, with a spiked crest running between the two.

Dating: Late Classic products of the Cotzumalhuapa culture which in El Salvador included the western coastal plain to the upper drainage of the Paz River; trade brought examples into Payu Ceramic Complex contexts elsewhere in western and central El Salvador.
Appearance: Most are brown (from tan through reddish brown) to red (brownish red to brick red), with a coarsely finished to moderately smoothed surface. Rare examples are of Tiquisate Ware (characterized by a very smooth, lustrous, and hard surface, cream to orange in color), and may be ancient imports from the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Traces of paint may be present (blue, black, red, yellow, and white have been documented); the paint was usually applied after firing and tends to be easily eroded. Those parts of figurines made without the benefit of molds tend to be rather carelessly modeled.
Size: ... The models of litters are approximately 9’’ (23cm) in length.
Important Variants: Cotzumalhuapa use of clay was very creative and the observer should expect figurine forms not mentioned here.

Example shown: Maya figurine, Cotzumalhuapa, Late Classic period.

For import restrictions in force from 1987, see History of Import Restrictions below.

> CPIA Import Restriction Designated List

> History of Import Restrictions

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