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Figurine, Bahia culture

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Dated: 450[BCE] -400

Cultural Context: Bahia style.

Origin: Bahía de Caráquez (Province of Manabí, Ecuador)

Medium: Clay, Pigments

Technique: Moulded, Appliqué, Painted, Incised, Modelled

Dimensions: Height = 59 cm; Width = 27.2 cm; Depth = 16cm

Iconography: Anthropomorphic representation

Inventory no.: 03761

A possible Bahia sanctuary called Los Esteros happened to be located near the city of Manta, showing the ostentation of the political and religious power of the shamans or chief-priests within the complex Bahia social structure. Rows of the so-called giant bay figures were located facing the sea. Body painting was common in pre-Hispanic cultures, not only for decorative purposes, but also for symbolic ones. It could even protect the skin from attacks by insects and other parasites. In this case, the figurine wears yellow paint on half of the face, black on the other half of the face and on the body, and red on the hands and legs. The headdresses typically worn by these figures may have been wrapped like a turban, with the ends of the long cloths exposed for decorative purposes. This figure is using a container for lime (llipta), which is used with a lime pick or lime sucker to chew coca leaves.