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Pottery Dogs of Colima
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A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

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Nov. 12, 2006 –The other day, some friends were going to the city of Colima overnight on business and I went along. It’s about a two-and-a-half hour trip, mostly on good toll roads. We dropped a lot in elevation, as Colima is at about 2,000 feet, compared to the 5,000 here by Lake Chapala. Only an hour or so from the beaches of Manzanillo, it was hot and muggy. It’s a prosperous modern city.

And I was a happy camper, because two of my passions coincided: dogs and Mexican pottery.

In pre-Columbian times, the people in this part of Mexico created pottery that celebrated the simple joys of life. And in their tombs, they often put statues of fat little dogs. The pottery dogs we saw are generally quite happy, and they are described in a book I read as having a sense of humor.

(The people also ate the dogs at times, after fattening them with corn. You have to recognize the exigencies of their lives to accept this, I guess. It took me a little while, but the love of the dogs shines through the pottery.)

There happened to be a very nice artesania store in the next block to our hotel, the Maria Isabella. I chatted a long time with the owners, in English and Spanish. Among other things, they had two sections of modern copies of the Colima dogs. Both were imitations of actual centuries-old pieces, but the better ones were handmade and the poorer ones made from molds.

I bought two of the handmade ones, and then went back the next morning and got a third one I kept thinking about.

Here’s one, where the dog is wearing a human mask. This would be put in the grave with the newly dead person, so the dog would guide the person into the next world.

Comments from the old blog:
  • Rosana, I love these dogs too. The one with the human mask is wonderful. Lucky you.

  • I said…

    I’ve got it on my bedside table at the moment, really enjoying it! Once I get home, it will find another spot.
    More coming on the dogs, with some nice photos, planned when I get to my next blog entry.

  • I have heard the legend of the dancing dogs of Colima but I cannot find any supporting info in print or on the internet. Do know the story? What is your source? Any info would be nice. Cheers! Terry Ryan (Toronto) Visited Colima in Feb’07 and loved it.

  • I said…

    Terry, the hardcover book I bought in Colima is Perros en las tumbas de Colima, which is in Spanish, English, and French, published by the Universidad de Colima, 2nd edition 1998. You might be able to get it through interlibrary loan, or on ebay or abe.com or alibris.com

6 Responses to “Pottery Dogs of Colima”

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    Dorian Morla says:

    I love the fact that these dogs have such a history in Mexico and they look human like when they are depicted as dancing like the statue in Colima, Mexico. I found your website as I was searching for images of the iconic K-9s for a tattoo idea. You can also find these historic hounds in the artistic renderings of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, wow these are some popular pups! Xolo (show-low) was there for the Spanish conquest , they warded off evil spirits, survived near extinction, they have become national icons and yet the AKC (American Kennel Club) refused to recognize them as a legitimate breed… but we gave Lassie a television show.

  • Rosana says:

    Dorian, I actually wanted to get a Xolo myself. A woman I know in Oregon has two and says they are great. But then we got a rescue Rottweiler and our family is complete again. Considering that we will be moving back to Colorado as our home base (but still visiting Mexico), I decided to forgo Xolos.

  • Kurt Dixon says:

    I was told the two dogs were one old and one young. The older is talking into the ear of the younger one symbolizing the passing of knowledge and lore from one generation to the next.

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    I never heard that, thanks for mentioning it!

  • geno says:

    what breed dogs did they have then?
    I’m really interested as my dog (rescued) from Louisiana
    looks like their (coloma) depicted dogs.
    A very Happy Jumping Bean Dog
    thanks much

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    Hi Geno — I believe that they were likely of the breed called Xoloitzcuintle.

    When we lived in Mexico, I kind of wanted to get one, but it never happened.

    Here’s a page about them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hairless_Dog


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