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Artist/Maker: Artist Unknown (Artist Unknown)

Date: ca. 200-1550 CE
Medium: stone
Overall: 1 x 7/8 x 1 3/4 in. (2.5 x 2.2 x 4.4 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of Enrico Varisco in memory of Roberto Varisco
Object number: 2003.63.6
DescriptionOne of the few domesticated animals in ancient Mesoamerica was the dog. Dogs were significant in both ritual and daily life, and they were widely represented in ceramic, stone, and carvings made from more perishable materials. The Aztecs saw these animals as essential companions in the voyage to the Underworld, where they were responsible for guiding the deceased through the numerous tasks to be completed before arriving in Mictlan, the land of the dead. Despite its miniature dimensions, this image of a dog is a remarkable example of Aztec stone sculpture. The figure is well proportioned with cheerful eyes and an open mouth. A long, curling tail rests on its back. The color and polished surface of the stone emphasize the symbolic importance of the animal.
Not on view