Pre-Columbian, Ecuador, Manabí Province, Jama Coaque, 300 BCE to 600 CE. The Jama Coaque culture of the Pacific coast of Ecuador is known for its pottery, especially highly adorned, human figures of elite status such as the figure sitting with hands to his knees who is likely engaged in a ceremonial ritual. Perhaps a shaman or priest, he is ornamented with facial scarification, large ear ornaments, a necklace incised with markings to indicate beads, and brilliant red cinnabar. The female figure in contrast is carrying a pack on her back indicative of lower status. Dress and ornament were identifiers of clans and ethnic groups as well as markers of rank. The information encoded in these figures' clothing and jewelry would have been understood by members of those groups. The final figure which also functions as a whistle wears a large headdress, ornately designed necklace, and large ear ornaments. Clearly this piece depicted a highly revered individual. The lack of facial features may be due to the fact that the sculptor created a flat plane to indicate a veil signifying a state of mourning.
4-3/4" in height.