Howling Canine

Date: 5th–6th century

Geography: Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz

Culture: Remojadas

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 20 x W. 10 1/4 x D. 16 in. (50.8 x 26 x 40.6 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Sculpture

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1961

Accession Number: 1978.412.59


The ancient inhabitants of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the region that is now the state of Veracruz had great command of the ceramic medium and produced a wide variety of ceramic sculptures for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Tentatively grouped today into styles that are named for specific places, such as Remojadas, the works produced during the first millennium A.D. include many of substantial scale and assertive presence, such as the howling animal illustrated here. It has been identified as both a coyote and a dog, as it lacks any detail that might distinguish one from the other. Sculpturally spontaneous, however, with the unpolished surface favored at the time it was made, the animal conveys its message without needing a more exact identity.