Phallic Figure, Burnished Ceramic with Slip and Incised Decoration, 200 BC-500 AD, Colima, Mexico
The state of Colima 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.