Standing Figure

Date: 5th–1st century B.C.

Geography: Ecuador

Culture: Esteros or Bahía

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H x W: 4 1/2 x 1 3/4in. (11.4 x 4.5cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1995

Accession Number: 1995.24.3


The Bahía people occupied the coast of Manabí Province, where they continued the ceramic tradition of depicting human figures that had started 2,000 years earlier in the region. Their figures vary from hand-modeled to heavy mold-made examples and others that have mold-made faces and hand-modeled bodies. Some have colored and/or applied clothing and ornaments. Associated with the site of Los Esteros in central Manabí, this figure is highly stylized with a flat, sexless body and flipperlike arms. Its angular face has large, applied coffeebean eyes and a very prominent aquiline nose with a heavy nose ring.

The meaning of such figures is unknown. One Los Esteros cache contained broken Bahía-style figurines apparently deliberately smashed. Clearly a votive offering of some sort, its intended purpose is conjectural.