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Old Fire God with Brazier Vessel on Head Central American, Vercruz (Gulf Coast Mexico)
Unknown (Gulf Coast Mexico, Unknown)
300--600 C. Oil on canvas, 18 1/4 x 12 x 13". 2000.029.030
The Columbus Museum of Art’s small, stellar collection of ancient American art features objects that are both important cultural relics and beautiful works in themselves. Although ancient, these objects share with much Modernist painting and sculpture the important Modernist characteristics of elegant lines and flat colors. The simplified naturalism and abstract form of these works resonate wonderfully with the Modernist works in the Museum’s collection. Collectors and admirers often are drawn to these works for many of the same reasons Pablo Picasso was attracted to and inspired by African art. Most of the objects in this collection come from the regions of Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit, in western Mexico. The objects from these areas were created to be placed in burial chambers to assist the deceased in the afterlife. The “effigy” vessels are especially striking. In these, a human or animal form has been adapted to make a utilitarian container.