Colima sitting dwarf

This striking hunchbacked dwarf from the Colima culture of western Mexico has been dated to 300-400 CE.  While we can’t say ‘This is a jester’, we know that jesters could often be dwarfs and dwarfs often jesters, with or without a hunchback.  We also know that the 16th century Aztec king Montezuma was said to have had dwarf and hunchback jesters.  Interestingly, it has been said that Colima culture pottery commonly included dwarfs and hunchbacks:

Human representations include hunchbacks and dwarfs, musicians playing a variety of instruments, and males holding bowls. Women are rarely depicted.

Credit: Art Institute of Chicago, public domain. Gift of Neal Ball, Mrs. Roy Evan Barr, Mr. and Mrs. William D. Berger, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Bergman, Mrs. Leigh B. Block, Hans C. Cahen, Helen Marie Crone Trust, Reverend Richard J. Douaire, Linda Einfeld, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Figeley, Michael Fortino, Merle B. Gordon, Dr. and Mrs. Melvin R. Guttman, Frank B. Hubachek, Mrs. John V. McGuire, Gwendolyn Miller and Herbert Baker, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Miller, Mary Kirk Newcomb in memory of Paulene Kirk, Fred Novy and Edward Pinsel, Meryl Pinsof Platt, Barbara Rose, Anna L. Unzicker, Peter G. Wray, Theodore N. Zekman; restricted gift of Winter and Hirsch, Inc.


Art Institute of Chicago

The British Museum, “Pottery dog, Colima culture,” in Smarthistory, March 12, 2021.

Credit: Art Institute of Chicago, public domain.

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